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Publication numberUS20060232110 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/095,134
Publication dateOct 19, 2006
Filing dateApr 1, 2005
Priority dateApr 1, 2005
Publication number095134, 11095134, US 2006/0232110 A1, US 2006/232110 A1, US 20060232110 A1, US 20060232110A1, US 2006232110 A1, US 2006232110A1, US-A1-20060232110, US-A1-2006232110, US2006/0232110A1, US2006/232110A1, US20060232110 A1, US20060232110A1, US2006232110 A1, US2006232110A1
InventorsAriel Ovadia
Original AssigneeAriel Ovadia
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reserved seat control apparatus and system for arenas, stadiums and theaters
US 20060232110 A1
Abstract
There is provided a reserved seat system for stadiums, arenas and theaters to limit the use of reserved seats to those having a specific ticket for that particular seat for that particular event at that particular time. The system employs seats in which the pivoting seating portion can be locked in an upraised position, which lock can be unlocked using a ticket having appropriate indicia to be deciphered by a ticket reader in the arm of the seat. The system is preferably controlled by an electronic lock system utilizing a central computer. The central computer randomly changes the electronic lock opening signals after each event to prevent a spectator retained ticket from being used at a subsequent event to unlock a seat occupied in the previous event. The central computer further provides instructions for ticket indicia creation for each subsequent event, provides instructions for printing replacement tickets for those purchased from third party ticket sellers, and provides a signal to all seats after an event is concluded for ticket spitters to discharge all tickets from ticket readers in the seats so that floor sweeping results in the disposal of all ticket left in the ticket readers after the spectators depart.
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Claims(15)
1. A reserved seat control apparatus comprising:
a seat having a movable portion to alternately allow access to the seat for occupying it and to deny access to the seat to prevent occupying it;
a locking mechanism controlling when the movable portion allows access to the seat and when the movable portion denies access to the seat: and
a means to unlock the locking mechanism.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 which further comprises means to resiliently urge the movable portion to a position denying access to the seat when the seat is unoccupied.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the movable portion is a seating portion pivotable about a pivot axis connected to a frame of the seat, and in which when the seating portion is raised it denies access to the seat and when the seating portion is lowered it allows access to the seat.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the locking mechanism includes an electronic lock controlled by a computer in electrical communication with the electronic lock.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 in which the means to unlock the locking mechanism further comprises:
a ticket having indicia thereon;
at least one arm rest on the seat;
a slot disposed in an end of the arm rest which slot is adapted to accept an end to the ticket; and
a ticket reader to decipher the indicia disposed on the ticket and send a signal to the computer to unlock the electronic lock.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 in which the computer is programmed to randomly change the electronic lock opening signal after the conclusion of an event and to provide indicia creation instructions for a succeeding event as a result of randomly changing the electronic lock opening signal.
7. The apparatus of claim 5 which further comprises a ticket spitter in the ticket reader to discharge the ticket out of the slot when an event is concluded.
8. The apparatus of claim 3 in which the locking mechanism includes a linkage between the seating portion of the seat and the electronic lock such that when the seating portion is raised, the linkage causes an inclined plane latch in the electronic lock to engage a latch chamber in the linkage thereby locking the apparatus in a position to deny access to the seat.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 in which the linkage comprises:
a first spur gear attached to the seating portion concentric with and rotatable about the pivot axis;
a locking mechanism axle disposed horizontally beneath the seating portion and parallel to the seat back;
a second spur gear co-planar with the first spur gear and fixedly mounted on a first end of the locking mechanism axle to rotate therewith;
a toothed belt around the first and second spur gears to cause them to rotate together;
a pinion fixedly mounted to a second end of the locking mechanism axle to rotate therewith;
a locking plate having a latch chamber and containing a rack that meshes with the pinion whereby the locking plate is driven by the rack and pinion to translate laterally toward the inclined plane latch in the electronic lock to engage the latch chamber in the locking plate when the seating portion is raised.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 in which at least some components of the linkage are disposed within a housing to prevent tampering with the locking mechanism.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 which further comprises a multiplicity of substantially similar such seats to form a system.
12. The system of claim 11 in which the locking mechanisms of all seats in the system include electronic locks that are all controlled by a central computer in electrical communication with all the electronic locks.
13. The system of claim 11 in which the means to unlock the locking mechanisms further comprises:
a ticket for each seat having indicia thereon;
at least one arm rest on each seat;
slots disposed in the ends of the arm rests which slots are adapted to accept ends to the tickets; and
ticket readers to decipher the indicia disposed on the tickets and send signals to a central computer to unlock each electronic lock if the indicia match requirements for a specific seat for which a specific ticket is presented.
14. The apparatus of claim 13 in which the central computer is programmed to randomly change all the electronic lock opening signals after the conclusion of an event, to provide ticket indicia creation instructions for a succeeding event as a result of randomly changing the electronic locks opening signals, and to provide instructions for the printing of tickets in a manner analogous to that used to print self serve airline boarding passes to replace tickets purchased from third party ticket sellers that lack the ability to print tickets having indicia readable by the ticket readers.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 which further comprises ticket spitters controlled by the central computer in all the ticket readers to discharge the tickets out of the slots when an event is concluded so that floor sweeping will dispose of all used tickets and clear all ticket readers.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of structures that house public events such as stadiums and arenas for sporting contests and theaters for the presentation of plays. Most specifically, it relates to an apparatus and system to limit the use of reserved seats to those having a specific ticket for that particular seat for that particular event at that particular time.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The overwhelming majority of the events staged in arenas, stadiums, and theaters involve the sales of reserved seats that are priced according to their proximity to the event itself. Thus it is well known that at a football stadium the highest priced tickets are next to the field and at the fifty yard line. The operators of the structures in which such events are staged frequently employ ushers or other crowd control personnel to guide attendees to their reserved seats before the beginning of the event. These people also serve the function before the event of preventing people from accessing reserved seats for which they lack a ticket. However, some time after an event has commenced, ushers or other crowd control people leave the structure resulting in few, if any, personnel policing access to unoccupied reserved seats by those lacking a ticket for same.

It is frequently a source of some aggravation to the proprietors of these facilities and also to their patrons that during the course of a public event that people who not have paid for premium seating occupy the premium seats when it becomes clear which seats are not in use. The present invention provides an apparatus and method of use to terminate the unauthorized use of reserved seats in public facilities.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Bearing in mind the foregoing, this is a principal object of the present invention to control on a positive real time basis access to reserved seats in public facilities such as arenas, stadiums and theaters.

A related object of the invention to be able to guarantee to patrons who pay for premium seating that their seating areas will be limited to use by like patrons.

Another object of the invention is to encourage greater sales of premium seating because premium seating areas can no longer be accessed without the same being the subject of full payment therefor.

An additional object of the invention is to ensure that tickets can not be reused for the same seat at a subsequent event because seating designations are changed following the termination of the first event.

Another object of the invention is to ensure that all ticket readers discharge their tickets upon conclusion of the event.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the following descriptions and the appended drawings.

In accordance with the principal aspect of the invention, there is provided a reserved seat in which the pivoting seating portion can be locked in an upraised position, which lock can be unlocked using a ticket having appropriate indicia to be deciphered by a ticket reader in the arm of the seat. The system is preferably controlled by an electronic lock system utilizing a central computer.

More specifically, the first component is that the seat includes a seating portion pivotable about a pivot axis with a lower position in which the seat can be occupied and a upper or raised position where it cannot. Coupled with this is a resilient urging means which will raise the seat to its upper position when it is not held down by being occupied or otherwise as provided with this invention.

The next component is a lock schematically disposed between the seat frame and the pivotable seat. The lock is arranged such that when the seat is raised it is locked into position and cannot be lowered unless the user presents proper authorization. The invention preferably includes an electronic lock system controlled by a computer such as is employed in hotels. The electronic lock system controls the locks on all of the reserved seats in the facility in the same manner as guest room doors are controlled in a hotel, including the fact that the locks are changed for each reserved seat randomly by the computer after each event. The next component is a ticket reader that is disposed in one arm of the seat. This includes a slot that is analogous to the slot in a hotel guest room door into which a key card is inserted. The ticket reader further includes the additional function of a ticket spitter to discharge any tickets left in the ticket readers after the event has terminated. Another aspect includes tickets containing indicia such as bar codes which are read by the ticket reader in the arm seat. While this indicia could be magnetic strips as used in hotel key cards, a less expensive alternative is the preferred embodiment in the form of bar codes or the like, considering that the used tickets will almost inevitably all be discarded after the event.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art and from the following discussion taken in conjunction with the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a theater chair that includes the inventive locking means and which is shown in the seat down occupied position.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of a theater chair that includes the inventive locking means and which is shown in the seat up unoccupied and locked position.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view showing the ticket reader slot and the connecting mechanism between the chair seat and the lock.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial perspective schematic view of the linkage between the pivotable seat and the locking means.

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective schematic view of the locking means showing a rack and pinion driven locking plate and electronic lock.

FIG. 6 is a cross section view of the rack and pinion driven locking plate taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5 and showing the plate in the unlocked position.

FIG. 7 is also a cross section view of the rack and pinion driven locking plate taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5, but showing the locking plate in the locked position.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram showing the interrelationship of the central computer to the electronic lock and the ticket reader.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As required detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employed the present invention in largely any appropriately detailed structure.

References now made to the drawings wherein like characteristics in features of the present invention showing the various figures are designated by the same references numerals.

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of the invention in the form of a theater chair 10 with locking mechanism 12. It is comprised of a stationary seat back 14 and a pivoting seating portion 16 connected to a frame 18 that supports a hinge arm 20 having a pivot axis 22. The frame 18 also supports an arm rest 24.

FIG. 2 shows the same components except that the seating portion 16 is in its raised and locked position.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view showing seat back 14, pivoting seating portion 16, locking mechanism 12, frame 18, pivot axis 22, locking mechanism 12, arm rest 24, and particularly ticket slot 26. Ticket slot 26 is in alignment with an internal conventional ticket reader, preferably a bar code reader (not shown).

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial perspective schematic view of linkage between the pivoting seating portion 16 and the locking mechanism 12, the latter seen in FIGS. 1-3. Pivoting seating portion 16 pivots about pivot axis 22 and is rotationally connected to first spur gear 28 that in turn meshes with toothed belt 30. Toothed belt 30 passes at its lower end around second spur gear 32 which rotates about axle axis 34 at the center of locking mechanism axle 36, which is rotationally connected to pinion 38. The toothed belt 30 assures that first spur gear 28 and second spur gear 32 will rotate together. It will be understood that although the preferred embodiment of this linkage employs two spur gears 28, 32 and a toothed belt 30, a chain and two sprockets, a v-belt and two pullies, or the like could readily be substituted and are in the contemplation of the inventor.

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective schematic view of the locking means showing a rack and pinion driven locking plate and electronic lock. Specifically, locking mechanism axle 36 and pinion 38 are shown engaged with locking plate 40 which translates left and right as shown by arrows 42. Pinion 38 is shown engaged with recessed rack 44 which is disposed within locking plate 40. Electronic lock 46 is seen to the right of locking plate 40 with its inclined plane latch 38 shown exposed and in alignment with latch chamber 50.

FIG. 6 is a cross section view of the rack and pinion driven locking plate taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5 and showing a locking plate in the unlocked position. Specifically, locking plate 40 is shown near its left most position such that electronic lock 46 and inclined plane latch 48 are physically separated from latch chamber 50. This results from the fact that pivoting seating portion 16 is down in its lowered seating position and the effect of which is that first spur gear 28 is at its most clockwise position about pivot axis 22. This, in turn, means that second spur gear 32, locking mechanism axle 36, and pinion 38 are also at their most clockwise position. The result of that is to have locking plate 40 in its left side position.

In FIG. 7 the position of locking plate 40 is moved to the right such that electronic lock 46 is in proximity to latch chamber 50 so that inclined plane latch 48 is disposed within latch chamber 50. This results from the pivoting seating portion 16 being in its raised position which means that first spur gear 28, second spur gear 32, locking mechanism axle 36 and pinion 38 are at their most counterclockwise position as a result of pivoting seating portion 16 being raised. Of course, the presence of inclined plane latch 48 and latched chamber 50 means that the seat is locked in its raised position so it can not be occupied without being unlocked.

Turning finally to FIG. 8 ticket 52 shown in proximity to slot 26 which is disposed within bar code reader 54. Bar code reader 54 sends a signal through electronic lock 46 along line 56 and through line 58 through central computer 60. Central computer 60 evaluates whether the bar codes or other indicia on ticket 52 are appropriate to open electronic lock 46. If the answer to that query is affirmative, central computer 60 sends a signal through line 58 through electronic lock 46 opening it making locking plate 40, recessed rack 44, pinion 38, locking mechanism axle 36, second spur gear 32, toothed belt 30, first spur gear 28, pivot axis 22 and pivoting seating portion 16 free to move to the orientation shown FIGS. 4 and 6.

Because the invention contemplates the random changing of the electronic locks opening signals by the central computer after each event to prevent a ticket retained by a spectator from a prior event from being used to unlock a given seat at a later event, the invention contemplates that the central computer will provide ticket indicia creation instructions for a succeeding event. These instructions are provided to a conventional ticket printing device (not shown).

Further, because tickets to events are usually not all purchased from a stadium, arena, or theater box office, the invention contemplates the use of tickets purchased from outside third party ticket sellers (e.g., “Ticketmaster®”) that will likely not have equipment to print indicia such as bar codes on the tickets, the invention contemplates the installation of indicia printers 62 at entrances to stadiums, arenas and theaters which will recognize third party ticket sellers' indicia, and print a ticket compatible with the inventive system indicia in the manner of conventional self serve airline boarding pass printers being used at airports at the time of this writing.

While the invention has been described, disclosed, illustrated and shown in various terms or certain embodiments or modifications which it has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention is not intended to be, nor should it be deemed to be, limited thereby and such other modifications or embodiments as may be suggested by the teachings herein are particularly reserved especially as they fall within the breadth and scope of the claims here appended.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
WO2011032241A1 *Aug 26, 2010Mar 24, 2011Pires Andre Augusto DonadelliElectronic chair releasing or opening system by means of a password, admission ticket, electronic card or biometrics
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/217.3
International ClassificationA47C31/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47C7/60
European ClassificationA47C7/60