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Publication numberUS20080053340 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/434,004
Publication dateMar 6, 2008
Filing dateMay 15, 2006
Priority dateMay 15, 2006
Publication number11434004, 434004, US 2008/0053340 A1, US 2008/053340 A1, US 20080053340 A1, US 20080053340A1, US 2008053340 A1, US 2008053340A1, US-A1-20080053340, US-A1-2008053340, US2008/0053340A1, US2008/053340A1, US20080053340 A1, US20080053340A1, US2008053340 A1, US2008053340A1
InventorsDale Mark Comeaux, Stephen C. Comeaux
Original AssigneeDale Mark Comeaux, Comeaux Stephen C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable motor vehicle work station/organizer
US 20080053340 A1
Abstract
The present invention is a portable mobile vehicle work station/organizer which is designed to be used in motor vehicles. The work station is a container which is capable of being secured to a passenger seat of the motor vehicle, preferably by passenger safety belt secured through a molded cavity of the work station. There is provided an adjustable computer holder which is adapted to be removeable from the work surface of the work station and capable of being received within the interior of the work station. An alternate embodiment of the present invention provides a slide out tray with non skid surface which can be configured for right hand and left hand use. The work station has a file folder storage compartment with a hinged and lockable cover utilizing a mechanical combination TSA approved lock and has a non skid surface. The cover has attachment points for mounting cell phones, personal digital assistants, printers, fax machines and global positioning systems. The main work surface has a non skid surface with attachment points for mounting laptop computers, cell phones, personal digital assistants, printers, fax machines and global positioning systems. The main work surface is hinged for access to the main storage compartment. It is lockable utilizing a mechanical combination TSA approved lock. The interior of the main storage compartment has attachment points for mounting a power inverter to power electrical devices. The portable work station has a wheeled based and retractable handle system to allow for easy ergonomic movement from vehicle to vehicle or storage facilities. Molded in hand holds also aid movement in and out of motor vehicle.
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Claims(4)
1. A new and improved portable motor vehicle work station/organizer for use in all motor vehicles comprising:
a) A main storage compartment and a main work surface. The main work surface has a non skid surface and is hinged for access to the main storage compartment. It is lockable utilizing a mechanical combination TSA approved lock. The main storage compartment has a molded in feature that enables the portable motor vehicle work station/organizer to be secured in the seat by using safety belt.
b) A slide out tray with recessed area to accept a non skid surface. The slide out tray can be used as an additional work surface, notepad and/or clipboard holder when extended. The slide out tray can be used from the right hand and left hand sides. This makes the work station the only product currently available that can be accessed by a vehicle operator seated on either the right or left side of vehicle.
c) The main storage compartment has a storage area for file folders, books, binders and portable computing and communication devices. The work station has a file folder storage compartment with hinged and lockable cover utilizing a mechanical combination TSA approved lock and has a recessed area to accept a non skid surface. The cover has attachment points for mounting cell phones, personal digital assistants, printers, fax machines and global positioning systems.
d) The main work surface has an attachment point to accept an adjustable lockable laptop computer holder or a soft-sided laptop computer case which is attached to the main work surface by fasteners; the main work surface also has attachment points to mount cell phones, printers, fax machines, personnel digital assistants and global positioning systems to the work surface via multiple pedestal mounts. All mounting features are secured by locks to help prevent theft.
e) The portable work station has a retractable handle and wheels to allow for easy ergonomic movement from vehicle to vehicle or storage areas. Molded in hand holds aid transporting work station.
f) The main storage compartment has connection points to mount a 12 volt power inverter to power electrical devices such as laptop computers, cell phones, personal digital assistants, printers, fax machines and global positioning systems. The power inverter can be connected to the vehicle cigarette lighter or main power supply to power the peripheral devices. The main storage compartment has contoured features to allow cords to pass through the main storage compartment to vehicle power supply and allow power cords to pass into compartment to plug into power inverter.
g) The entire portable motor vehicle work station/organizer can be mechanically locked to the passenger seat via aircraft cable and lock to help prevent theft.
2. The portable mobile vehicle work station/organizer of claim (1) in combination with a portable computer.
3. The portable mobile vehicle work station/organizer of claim (2) wherein said portable computer may rest on the main work surface and be secured to said surface with adjustable laptop holder and readily storable in the interior of the main storage compartment with or without the laptop computer.
4. The portable mobile vehicle work station/organizer of claim (2) in combination with cell phone, printer, personal digital assistant and/or global positioning system.
Description
REFERENCES CITED [REFERENCED BY]

U.S. Patent Documents
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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of portable motor vehicle work stations/organizers. More specifically, the present invention relates to a portable motor vehicle work station/organizer which accommodates a laptop computer, cell phone, personal digital assistant, global positioning system, printer, fax machine, power inverter, trolley system and lockable work surfaces.

BACKGROUND

A large segment of the commercial workforce, especially individuals working in sales, real estate and product delivery, use their motor vehicle as a mobile office. These are just a few of the industries and in no way represent all of the industries that use their motor vehicle as their mobile office. During the course of the business day, these individuals must access laptop computers, cell phones, personal digital assistants, printers, fax machines, files, write memoranda, print invoices or the like. When conducted within the confines of a motor vehicle, such business activities are awkward, inconvenient and vexatious.

Conventional clipboards or the like are difficult to use in a motor vehicle since they are unsupported and frequently require one hand to support the clipboard while writing. Moreover, client files and other information, which need to be readily available, are kept in a brief case or transportable file box. Unless these storage devices are immediately adjacent the drivers compartment, they are extremely difficult to access. Furthermore, these storage devices are difficult and inconvenient to transport due to their size and weight.

The recent advent of lightweight portable computers, e.g., laptop and notebook computers has alleviated many of these problems. While currently available portable computers provide the functional capabilities needed for writing and file information access, they are difficult to use in a motor vehicle. An individual using a portable computer in a motor vehicle must balance the computer on their laps or on an adjacent seat. This is awkward, ergonomically incorrect and becomes increasingly so if the computer is attached to additional peripheral equipment, such as a printer, a cellular modem, a 12 volt DC power converter or the like.

It is evident that there is a need for an apparatus which decreases the difficulty surrounding the use of portable computers, files, cell phones, printers, fax machines, personal digital assistants and global positioning systems within a motor vehicle. Furthermore, there is a need for an apparatus which provides a desk-like working surface which is adapted to hold a portable computer and other communication equipment.

Study of the prior art reveals that there are a variety of devices which attempt to address this and other problems. These devices appear to fall within two major categories. First are devices which affix the portable computer to the motor vehicle, and second, devices which may be strapped onto an adjacent seat and which the portable computer rests on top of product.

Example devices found in the first category are U.S. Pat. No. 4,854,538 to Von Schalscha which discloses a computer mounting device for a motor vehicle. The Von Schalscha device has a vehicle mounted base which supports a series of articulated arm members ultimately terminating in a pivotally mounted tray which is capable of holding a portable computer. U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,668 to Crowe discloses a computer mounting device which is similar to the Schalscha device. The Crowe device has a vehicle mounting base with pivotally mounted support arm that ultimately terminates in a pivotally mounted tray capable of holding a portable computer. A final example is U.S. Pat. No. 5,555,491 where Tao discloses, a docking station for a laptop computer which mounts on either a vehicle console or an adjustable pedestal structure with ball and socket joints.

While the above devices suitably hold portable computers in a motor vehicle, they are designed solely for the purpose of holding an appliance such as a portable computer.

The above devices have no provisions to hold other frequently used objects, nor do they have the ability to store hard copy files. Moreover, the computer trays of the above devices are not adapted for other uses, such as to provide a firm stable working surface.

The following are example devices found in the second category. U.S. Pat. No. 5,177,665 to Frank et al. discloses an interesting computer support device for use in a motor vehicle. The Frank device has an upper lid which is pivotally attached to a lower support to form an L-shape in the open position. The lower support holds the portable computer while the upper lid releasably mounts the portable computer onto the motor vehicle steering wheel. The Frank device, while suitable for mounting a personal computer to a motor vehicle steering wheel, must be removed during operating the vehicle.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,120 to Hatcher discloses a support for a portable computer which is secured onto a motor vehicle passenger seat. The support has a lower unit with adjustable legs and an upper unit which is pivotally mounted to the lower unit. A Nylon strap is provided in the lower unit to secure the entire device to a car seat and a second Nylon strap is provided for securing the computer to the upper unit. The computer tray of the Hatcher device is specifically designed to surround and hold a portable computer, and, due to provided upwardly extending legs, does not provide a convenient working surface with the computer removed.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,092,507 to Szablak et al. discloses a modular workstation which is capable of being secured to a motor vehicle passenger seat. The Szablak device is a modular unit which serves as both a writing surface which has an integrally attached secondary storage unit. For a work surface, the Szablak device provides a clipboard assembly which is pivotally mounted onto the work surface to secure loose papers and the like and is removeable.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,551,616 to Stitt et al. discloses a general purpose organizing container that secures to a motor vehicle passenger seat by either a strap which doubles as a transport means for the container or the motor vehicle seat belt. The Stitt device provides a recessed upper work surface which is capable of accepting a portable computer but not actively holding said device. The Stitt device has a fixed attachment point for cell phone.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,560,676 to Griffith et al. discloses a desk for use in a vehicle has a top that defines receptacles therein for holding office supplies and equipment. The Griffith desk is secured to the passenger seat by the seat belt and has a flat sliding work surface that is capable of supporting a portable computer.

Thus, it is evident that there is a continuing need for improvements in the field. More specifically, there is a continuing need for a portable motor vehicle work station that is capable of holding and storing business paraphernalia and is further capable of holding a portable computer and other communication devices. There is also a further need for a device in which a portable computer may be freely repositioned on the work surface to provide maximum comfort and ease of use. None of these inventions provide a means of locking devices to work surfaces and in the internal storage compartments thus reducing theft. Also, none of the inventions provide an easy method or ergonomically correct means of transporting said inventions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a portable mobile vehicle work station/organizer for use in motor vehicles.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a portable work station which is secured to a passenger seat via the safety belt in a motor vehicle and which provides a surface/s on which an individual may write or work with a portable computer and other portable computing and communication devices.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a portable work station which when secured to a passenger seat of a motor vehicle provides a substantially level work surface, this being accomplished by a contoured rear area for better fit with seat backs. Additionally, the bottom of the work station is sloped to approximate seat cushion slope resulting in a more or less horizontal top surface when the workstation is installed in the passenger seat.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a portable motor vehicle work station/organizer which is secured to the motor vehicle passenger seat by passenger safety belt.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a portable work station which is a storage device which defines an enclosed volume and in which a top work surface is pivotally attached to the cabinet to provide access to the enclosed interior space.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a portable work station/organizer for use in a motor vehicle in which two tops pivotally attached to the main storage compartment, creating a work surface and each of which is capable of providing access to an enclosed interior volume of the portable work station and are lockable to secure business items from theft.

It is still yet another object of the present invention to provide a portable work station which has a detachable portable computer holder which has a bottom and two adjustable sides which are lockable to prevent theft and to hold a portable computer. The computer tray is capable of being freely repositioned on the work surface of the work station and also adapted to be received within the upper front compartment of the work station for storage, with or without a held computer. Additionally, a power inverter can be mounted inside the main storage compartment with pass through contours molded into the main storage compartment to allow power cords to pass in and out of main storage compartment.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide portability of the work station via molded in hand holds, wheels and a trolley system with retractable handle, thus making the work station easily portable from vehicle to vehicle or to other place for storage.

It is a final object of the invention to include a means of attaching additional mobile computing and communication devices such as cellular phones, printers, fax machines, personal digital assistants and global positioning systems to the work surfaces.

The foregoing and other objectives will become more apparent after consideration of the following detailed description taken, in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which a preferred form of this invention is illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features that are considered characteristic of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its structure and its operation together with the additional object and advantages thereof will best be understood from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates the present invention in a use configuration with the slide out tray (4) extended; it also illustrates the unique handholds (18) and safety belt molded-in contour (11) which holds the mobile vehicle workstation/organizer in place. It also illustrates the molded in features that provide attachment points for mounting additional portable computing and communication devices. These are further illustrated in FIG. 5.

FIG. 2 is a cutaway view showing interior storage compartments (12) & (13) of the portable mobile vehicle workstation/organizer which accommodates/stores business items, the molded in contour (32) that captures the TSA lock. Inserts (33) for attaching the power inverter (8) shown in FIG. 4

FIG. 3 is a bottom view (24) of the portable mobile vehicle organizer which demonstrates the wheels (7) and retractable handle (20) feature as well as the contoured bottom (24). The molded in hand holds (18) are also shown.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the two separate hinged (21) storage compartment lids in the open position, showing the power inverter (8) and molded pass through power cord contours (9); and also illustrates the unique latch mechanism (14), TSA mechanical lock (6) and mold in features (32) that positively capture the locks.

FIG. 5 shows many but not all of the additional attachment features of the mobile vehicle organizer which allow attachments for securing personal digital assistants, global positioning systems, printers (17), fax machines, laptop (30) and cell phones (16) to the portable mobile vehicle workstation/organizer utilizing different pedestal mounting systems (34). The file folder storage compartment (13) has a cover that can also accept these types of devices, not shown in this view but can be seen in FIG. 1. Slide out tray (4) shown with Notepad (36) and can also accommodate a notepad.

FIG. 6 shows one variation of a laptop hold down device (28) and also safety belt securing feature (31).

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a portable motor vehicle work station/organizer (1) for use in a motor vehicle. The portable motor vehicle work station/organizer (1) is secured onto a passenger seat via the safety belt (31) of a motor vehicle and is used to provide a convenient and accessible working surface and business organizer for individuals who conduct business in the motor vehicle. Furthermore, the portable motor vehicle work station/organizer (1) is adapted to organize a variety of business accoutrements used and found in a mobile office.

For convenience, the terms “front”, “back”, “left” and “right” as they relate to the present invention are used merely for descriptive convenience and are specifically not intended to be limitative. These terms, as they relate to the present invention, refer to the present invention as it is installed in a passenger seat of a motor vehicle and secured via safety belt (31). Thus, the back of the present invention is towards the seat back of the vehicle, and the front of the present invention is towards the front of the vehicle. The left side is towards the driver's side of the motor vehicle, and the right side is towards the passenger side of the motor vehicle for drivers sitting in the left hand seat. The right and left hand designation is opposite for driver sitting in the right hand side seat.

The work station (1) of the present invention is a main storage compartment (12) with a top or work surface (2) and has an internal storage volume. In the preferred embodiment, the work station (1) also has a bottom (24), a front (22), a rear (23), a left side (26) and a right side (25), all of which defines the internal storage volume.

While the work station may have any suitable form, preferably, the front (22), bottom (24) and left and right sides, (26) and (25), are substantially vertical when the work station (1) is strapped into the seat of the motor vehicle and the bottom (24) is sloped relative to the seat, to follow the contour usually found in a motor vehicle seat. The front (22), bottom (24), rear (23), left side (26) and right sides (25) are all molded together.

The main work surface (2) of the present invention is hinged (21) to allow access to the interior of the work station. The bottom (24) is sloped to provide a horizontal top surface upon which to work. The main work surface has a recessed area to accept a non skid material (5) which helps to prevent items from sliding off the surface.

The main work surface (2) and the file area work surface (3) are hinged (21) to allow access to the interiors. Both surfaces have latching mechanisms (14) that keeps surfaces in the closed position while using in a vehicle or even while transporting the work station (1). The latching mechanism includes a molded in contour (32) to hold the locks (6) in place during transportation of the work station. These locks (6) are mechanical combination locks that allow TSA agents to inspect the work station without cutting the locks off. The locks (6) also indicate if the locks (6) have been opened by colored indicator.

The bottom (24) of the work station is designed to accommodate wheels (7) and a retractable handle (20) to aid movement from vehicle to vehicle and to storage areas.

A horizontal slide out tray/work surface (4) can be accessed from the left or right hand sides, thus allowing it to be used in right and left hand driven vehicles. The main work surface (2) has guide rails (19) molded into the bottom to guide the slide out tray (4).

A portable computer holder device (35) can be attached to the portable mobile vehicle workstation/organizer and is removable, adjustable, storable and lockable. It is attached to the main work surface (2) and is further provided with the work station (1). The computer holder device has adjustable sides (28) to secure the computer to the main work surface (2). The adjustable sides (28) help prevent a held computer or other objects from falling off of the computer holder (35). The computer holder has a locking feature to help prevent theft while the laptop is installed in the vehicle. The computer holder (35) is further adapted to be received within the interior storage volume of main storage area (12). The computer (30) can be stored inside the main storage area (12) by opening the main work surface (2) via hinge mechanism (21).

The work station (1) is secured to the seat (27) by passenger safety belt (31) via a slot (11).

The main work surface (2) and the file area work surface (3) both have features molded in the work surfaces to accommodate mounts (34) for cellular phones (16), personal digital assistants and global positioning systems. The main work surface (2) also has an insert (10) molded in to accept a laptop hold down device (35).

Hand holds (18) are molded into the front (22) and back (23) of the main storage compartment (1) to facilitate transportation of the work station.

Furthermore, contoured features (9) are provided at the front of the work station (22) to allow electrical power plug(s) (29) in the front side (22) which provide power to a computer, printer or other accessories, such as a small desk lamp or the like. In order to provide the correct form of electrical power, there are inserts molded inside work station (1) on the front wall of main storage area (12), to attach a power inverter (8) which is adapted to convert direct current electricity to alternating current electricity, 110 volt rms.

The pass through holes (9) will allow at least four power plug(s) (29) to pass through work surface (1) and are adapted to be capable of electrical connection with a secured computer or other computing and communication devices.

In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, illustrated in FIGS. 2 & 4, the interior of the work station (12) remains a single storage compartment for a power inverter (8), secured laptop computer and other business devices and supplies.

The laptop holder (35) has adjustable sides (28) and mounting plate. Thus, allowing the computer to be moved left, right, forward and back, placing a secured computer into a more accessible position. It is secured to the work surface by a threaded insert (10) and screw.

This second embodiment is considered to have safety advantages not found in prior art devices. First, a secured computer can be stored within the interior of the work station (1) by utilizing the hinges (21), thus, if the motor vehicle makes sudden turns or stops, the computer, a heavy device, remains in place and does not travel about the interior of the motor vehicle cabin. Second, the storage of the secured computer conceals the computer when the user is not in the vehicle, thereby helping to prevent theft of the computer.

An alternate embodiment of the work station (1) in the passenger seat of the car such that the back portion (23) of the work station (1) will rest toward the back rest of the passenger seat. The contoured bottom (24) will allow a user of the computer (30) to use the computer (30) on a substantially flat surface, as opposed to an incline due to the nature of most declining features of the seat portions of most passenger seats.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7793597 *Feb 12, 2007Sep 14, 2010Autoexec, Inc.Portable desk and computer support
Classifications
U.S. Classification108/44
International ClassificationA47B37/00, A47B23/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B21/03
European ClassificationA47B21/03
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 2, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: COMEAUX, STEPHEN C., OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:COMEAUX, DALE MARK;REEL/FRAME:019522/0079
Effective date: 20070604