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Publication numberUS20090165679 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/966,297
Publication dateJul 2, 2009
Filing dateDec 28, 2007
Priority dateDec 28, 2007
Publication number11966297, 966297, US 2009/0165679 A1, US 2009/165679 A1, US 20090165679 A1, US 20090165679A1, US 2009165679 A1, US 2009165679A1, US-A1-20090165679, US-A1-2009165679, US2009/0165679A1, US2009/165679A1, US20090165679 A1, US20090165679A1, US2009165679 A1, US2009165679A1
InventorsMitchell R. Bakker, Christopher M. Phillips
Original AssigneeHni Technologies, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Technology port
US 20090165679 A1
Abstract
A conference table or other article of furniture includes one or more technology port assemblies integrated into its worksurface. The technology port assembly provides for one or more utility connections to be provided in the worksurface such that the utility connections are easily accessible to a group of users. The utility connections can be customized to meet the users' requirements. The technology port assembly includes a sliding access panel adapted to move between a closed position in which the utility connections are concealed to an open position in which the utility connections are exposed and accessible to the users. In the closed position, the sliding panel is substantially flush with an upper surface of the worksurface. In the open position, the sliding panel does not substantially protrude above an upper surface of the worksurface so as to not interfere or obstruct verbal or visual contact between the users.
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Claims(21)
1. A furniture assembly comprising:
a base including at least one support member:
a frame assembly including one or more wire management features coupled to the base:
a worksurface coupled to the frame assembly, the worksurface, including an upper surface, a lower surface, and at least one opening; and
at least one technology port assembly secured to the lower surface of the worksurface such that the technology port assembly is accessible through the opening in the worksurface, the technology port assembly comprising a generally S-shaped plate having one or more blank cut-outs adapted to receive a utility connection disposed between a first inner side wall having at least one slot and a second inner side wall having at least one slot, a panel having one or more pin rollers adapted to move within the at least one slot in each inner side wall, the panel adapted to move between a closed position in which the S-shaped plate is concealed and an open position in which the generally S-shaped plate is exposed.
2. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a first outer wall coupled to the first inner wall and a second outer wall coupled to the second inner wall, each outer wall including a flange for securing the technology port assembly to the lower surface of the worksurface.
3. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, wherein the furniture assembly is a conference table.
4. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a plurality of cut-outs adapted to receive a plurality of utility connections wherein the utility connections comprise power, data, voice, audio, video, or control connection, or a combination thereof.
5. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, further comprising one or more utility connections received within the one or more blank cut-outs, wherein the utility connections comprise one or more power, data, voice, audio, video, control connections, or a combination thereof.
6. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, wherein the at least one slot located in each inner side wall comprises a single continuous slot having a horizontal region, a transition region, and an arcuate region.
7. The furniture assembly according to claim 6, wherein the at least one slot includes a detent located at a proximal end of the slot.
8. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, wherein the first and second inner walls each include a substantially linear slot and a substantially curvilinear slot.
9. The furniture assembly according to claim 8, wherein the panel includes a first set of pin rollers adapted to move within the substantially linear slots formed in the inner side walls and a second set of pin rollers adapted to move within the substantially curvilinear slots formed in the inner side walls.
10. The furniture assembly according to claim 8, wherein the substantially linear slots are included upward relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the inner side walls.
11. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a bezel defining an opening generally corresponding to outer dimensions of the panel, the bezel adapted to be secured to the technology port assembly through the opening in the worksurface such that a lower surface of the bezel portion rests on the upper surface of the worksurface.
12. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, wherein in the closed position the panel is substantially flush with the upper surface of the worksurface and in the open position the panel does not substantially protrude above the upper surface of the worksurface.
13. The furniture assembly according to claim 1, wherein the panel includes a finger groove located in an exposed surface of the panel.
14. A conference table comprising:
a worksurface including an upper surface, a lower surface, and at least one opening; and
at least one technology port assembly secured to the lower surface of the worksurface such that the technology port assembly is accessible through the opening in the worksurface, the technology port assembly comprising a generally S-shaped plate having one or more blank cut-outs adapted to receive a utility connection disposed between a first inner side wall having at least a first slot inclined upward in a direction relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the first inner side wall and a second inner side wall having at least a second slot inclined upward in a direction relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the second inner side wall, a panel having one or more rollers adapted to move within the first slot and one or more rollers adapted to move within the second slot, the panel adapted to move between a closed position in which the S-shaped plate is concealed and an open position in which the generally S-shaped plate is exposed, wherein in the open position the panel does not extend above the upper surface of the worksurface.
15. The conference table according to claim 14, further comprising a first outer wall coupled to the first inner wall and a second outer wall coupled to the second inner wall, each outer wall including a flange for securing the technology port assembly to the lower surface of the worksurface.
16. The conference table according to claim 14, further comprising one or more utility connections received within the one or more blank cut-outs, wherein the utility connections comprise power, data, voice, audio, video, control, or a combination thereof.
17. The conference table according to claim 14, wherein each inner side wall includes a first horizontal slot and a second vertical slot.
18. The furniture assembly according to claim 17, wherein the panel includes a first set of pin rollers adapted to move within the first horizontal slots formed in the inner side walls and a second set of pin rollers adapted to move within the vertical slots formed in the inner side walls.
19. The furniture assembly according to claim 18, wherein the horizontal slots are angled upward relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the inner side walls.
20. The furniture assembly according to claim 14, further comprising a bezel portion having an opening generally corresponding to outer dimensions of the panel, the bezel portion adapted to be secured to the technology port assembly through the opening in the worksurface such that the bezel portion rests on the upper surface of the worksurface.
21. A technology port assembly adapted to be integrated into a worksurface of a furniture assembly, the technology port assembly comprising:
a first inner side wall having a first slot inclined upward in a direction relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the first inner side wall and a second substantially curvilinear slot and a second inner side wall having at least a first slot inclined upward in a direction relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the second inner side wall and a second substantially curvilinear slot;
a generally S-shaped plate having one or more blank cut-outs adapted having at least one utility connection disposed therein between the first inner side wall and the second inner side wall: and
a panel having one or more rollers adapted to move within the first slot and one or more rollers adapted to move within the second slot of each inner side wall, the panel adapted to move between a closed position in which the S-shaped plate is concealed and an open position in which the generally S-shaped plate is exposed, wherein in the open position the panel does not substantially protrude above the upper surface of the worksurface.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to conference tables. More particularly, the present invention relates to conference tables adapted to support conferencing equipment such as electronic, video, audio, and networking utilities.

BACKGROUND

Meetings, conferences, and seminars are making greater use of electronic and communicative devices. The devices may include such things as wiring for supporting portable computers, video sending and/or receiving/display devices, audio sending and/or receiving devices, devices permitting networking and/or that support other intercommunication activities, combinations thereof, and the like. The furniture used during meetings, conferences, and seminars should be adapted to handle the increased density and capabilities of such devices in a user-friendly way. The furniture should provide easy access to power and telecommunication lines as well as facilitate the attachment of personal computers and electronic devices to the lines and utilities provided without interfering with the verbal or visual contact between any one user.

SUMMARY

In some embodiments, the present invention is a furniture assembly including: a base including at least one support member; a frame assembly including one or more wire management features coupled to the base; a worksurface coupled to the frame assembly, the worksurface including an upper surface, a lower surface, and at least one opening; and at least one technology port assembly secured to the lower surface of the worksurface such that the technology port assembly is accessible through the opening in the worksurface. In some embodiments, the technology port assembly includes a generally S-shaped plate having one or more blank cut-outs adapted to receive a utility connection disposed between a first inner side wall having at least one slot and a second inner side wall having at least one slot, and a sliding panel having one or more pin rollers adapted to move within the at least one slot in each inner side wall. The panel is adapted to move between a closed position in which the S-shaped plate is concealed and an open position in which the generally S-shaped plate is exposed. According to further embodiments of the present invention, the furniture assembly is a conference table. According to yet further embodiments of the present invention, the S-shaped plate includes one or more utility connections including power, data, voice, audio, video, control connections, or a combination thereof.

According to other embodiments, the first and second inner walls each include a substantially linear slot and a substantially curvilinear slot, and the panel includes a first set of pin rollers adapted to move within the substantially linear slots formed in the inner side walls and a second set of pin rollers adapted to move within the substantially curvilinear slots formed in the inner side walls.

According to some embodiments, the present invention is a conference table including a worksurface having an upper surface, a lower surface, and at least one opening and at least one technology port assembly secured to the lower surface of the worksurface such that the technology port assembly is accessible through the opening in the worksurface. In some embodiments, the technology port assembly includes a generally S-shaped plate having one or more blank cut-outs adapted to receive a utility connection disposed between a first inner side wall having at least one slot inclined upward in a direction relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the first inner side wall and a second inner side wall having at least one slot inclined upward in a direction relative to a line parallel to a bottom edge of the second inner side wall, and a panel having one or more rollers adapted to move within the at least one slot in the first inner side wall and one or more rollers adapted to move within the at least one slot located in the second inner wall. The panel is adapted to move between a closed position in which the S-shaped plate is concealed and an open position in which the generally S-shaped plate is exposed, wherein in the open position the panel does not extend above the upper surface of the worksurface. In further embodiments, each inner side wall includes a second substantially curvilinear slot, and the panel includes a first set of rollers adapted to move within the first slot located in the first and second inner side walls and a second set of rollers adapted to move within the second slot located in the first and second inner side walls.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table assembly provided according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the table assembly shown in FIG. 1 having its worksurface removed for easy understanding.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a technology port assembly according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 3B is an exploded view of the technology port assembly shown in FIG. 3A according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a side view of a plate according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is a perspective view of the plate shown in FIG. 4A according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side view of an inner side wall according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view of an inner side wall according to other embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view of an inner side wall according to yet other embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view and FIG. 8B is a side view of a sliding panel according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 9A and 9B are end views of a side panel including a sliding panel according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 10A and 10B are end views of a side panel including a sliding panel according to other embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11A is a perspective view of a bezel coupled to a technology port assembly according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11B is a partially exploded view of the bezel and technology port assembly 815 shown in FIG. 11A according to some embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Therefore, the following detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conference table 10 including at least one technology port assembly 15 integrated into a worksurface 20. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the conference table 10 shown in FIG. 1 with its worksurface 20 removed for easy viewing. While the embodiments described herein are described in reference to a conference table, it is generally understood that the technology port assemblies 15 can be sized as appropriate and integrated into a number of furniture articles typically found within an office or conference environment including, but not limited to, the following: credenzas, consoles, carts, desks, podiums or lecterns, and the like. According to further embodiments of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 1, a conference table 10 or other article of furniture may include one or more technology port assemblies 15 in a variety of locations as determined by the users' needs.

As shown in FIG. 1, the worksurface 20 is planar and can have a variety of sizes and shapes. For example, the worksurface 20 can be round, oval, quadrangle, trapezoidal, and the like. The worksurface 20 should be sized and shaped such that it is adequately supported by the base 25. Additionally, the worksurface 20 includes one or more openings having dimensions generally corresponding to the outer dimensions of one or more technology port assemblies 15. The technology port assemblies 15 are integrated into the worksurface 20 such that they are accessible through the openings. According to various embodiments of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 1, the technology port assemblies 15 are integrated into the worksurface 20 of the table 10 such that they do not substantially protrude above an upper surface 23 of the worksurface 20. According to another embodiment, the technology port assemblies are integrated into the worksurface 20 such that they are substantially flush with the upper surface 23 of the worksurface 20.

The worksurface 20 is coupled to and supported on a base 25. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the base 25 includes at least one support member 27. The support member(s) 27 can have a variety of configurations including, but not limited to, the following: leg, panel, and pillar configurations of varying cross-sections. According to some embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the base 25 includes two support members 27 having a panel configuration.

In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 2, the worksurface 20 is further supported on a frame assembly 30 coupled to the base 25. The frame assembly 40 includes one or more wire management features 35 for managing and concealing a plurality of wires or cables. The wire management features 35 are typically formed from plastic and have a J-shaped profile. The wire management features 35 can be integrally formed with the frame assembly 40 or separate elements coupled to the frame assembly during assembly.

Depending upon the size and shape of the worksurface 20 and/or the users' requirements, the number, size, and locations of the one or more technology port assemblies 15 can vary. For example, a small table intended for an office or a cubicle may include a single technology assembly, while a large conference table intended for use in a board room or other large meeting room can include up to eight technology port assemblies at various points located along the length and width of the table. The number of technology port assemblies provided in the examples above are not intended to be limiting, but illustrative in nature.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a technology port assembly 115 according to an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 3A, the technology port assembly 115 includes a rear wall 120, a first outer wall 125 and a second outer wall 130. Each outer wall includes a mounting flange 135 adapted for mounting and securing the technology trough assembly 115 to a lower surface of a worksurface 20. The technology port assembly 115 also includes a sliding panel 140 shown in a closed position in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 3B is an exploded view of the technology port assembly 115 shown in FIG. 3A. As shown in FIG. 3B, the technology port assembly 115 also includes a first inner side wall 142, a second inner side wall 144, and the sliding panel 140. When fully assembled, as shown in FIG. 3A, the first outer wall 125 is coupled to the first inner wall 142 and the second outer wall 130 is coupled to the second inner wall 144. The first inner side wall 142 and the second inner side wall 144 are disposed on either side of a plate 155 having one or more blank cut-outs 160 sized to receive one or more utility connections therein. Together, the rear wall 120, first and second inner walls 142, 144, and the plate 155 define a technology box 165.

According to various embodiments, each inner side wall 142, 144 includes at least one slot 170. As shown in FIG. 3B, each side wall includes a first slot 170 a and a second slot 170 b. The sliding panel 140 includes at least a first set of pin rollers 180 a adapted to move within the first slot 170 a. According to some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 3B, the sliding panel 140 also includes a second set of pin rollers 180 b adapted to move in the second slot 170 b. The sliding panel 140 is adapted to move between a closed position in which the plate 155 is concealed to an open position in which the plate 155 is exposed. In the open position, the sliding panel 140 does not substantially protrude above the upper surface of the worksurface.

FIG. 4A is a side view and FIG. 4B is a perspective view of a plate 255 including one or more blank cut-outs 260 sized to receive one or more utility connections according to an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 4A, the plate 255 has a generally S-shaped profile. As best shown in FIG. 4B, the plate 255 includes an upper portion 265, a lower portion 270, and a middle portion 275. The blank cut-outs are located in the middle portion 275 of the generally S-shaped plate 255.

The blank cut-outs 260 are each sized to receive a utility connection. The blank cut-outs 260 facilitate the plate 255 to be customized with different connections to meet the users' unique requirements. According to various embodiments of the present invention, individual cut-outs can be sized and shaped such that they are adapted to receive different types of connections from a variety of manufacturers including, but not limited to, the following: Extron, Leviton, Allen Tel, Amp, Panduit and Siemon. Exemplary utility connections include connections for audio/visual equipment, telecommunications equipment, voice connections, data connections, power connections, control connections, and the like. More specific examples include, but are not limited to, the following: Extron architectural adapter plates (AAP), Extron AAP double plates, AC power inputs, bayonet style co-axial connectors (BNC), RCA connections, RJ11 connections, RJ45 connections, S-video connections, VGA connections, and audio connections.

In some embodiments, at least one blank cut-out 262 is sized to receive an AC power input connection. In other embodiments, at least one blank cut-out 264 is sized to receive a data or telecommunications connection. Optionally, in yet other embodiments, at least one cut-out 266 is sized to receive an Extron architectural adapter plate (AAP) or a double architectural adapter plate. An Extron architectural adapter plate provides for user specified audio and visual connections. Additionally, the Extron architectural adapter plates can be interchangeable allowing for changes in the users' needs. Exemplary architectural adapter plates can be purchased from Extron Electronics of Anaheim, Calif., located on the world wide web at www.extron.com.

FIG. 5 is a side view of an inner side wall 300 according to one embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 5, the inner side wall 300 is substantially planar and includes an upper edge 305 and a lower edge 310. According to some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 5, the side wall 300 includes a single continuous slot 320 extending from a front portion 325 to a rear portion 330 of the inner side wall 300. The slot 320 includes a generally horizontal region 342, a transition region 344, and an arcuate region 346.

FIG. 6 is a side view of an inner side wall 400 according to another embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 6, the inner side wall 400 is substantially planar and includes an upper edge 405 and a lower edge 410. According to some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 6, the inner side wall 400 includes a single continuous slot 420 extending from a front portion 425 to a rear portion 430 of the inner side wall 400. The slot 420 includes a generally horizontal region 442, a transition region 444, and an arcuate region 446. According to some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 6, the slot 420 includes a detent 460 located at a proximal end 465 of the slot 460.

FIG. 7 is a side view of a side wall 500 according to yet another embodiment of the present invention. The inner side wall 500 is substantially planar and includes an upper edge 505 and a lower edge 510. According to some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 7, the inner side wall 500 includes a first slot 520 and a second slot 525. The first slot 520 is substantially straight and extends from a front portion 530 towards a rear portion 535 of the inner side wall 500. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 7, the first slot 520 is inclined upward relative to a line parallel with the lower edge 510 of the inner side wall 500. According to further embodiments, the first slot 520 is inclined upward relative to a line parallel to a line such that the degree of the incline ranges from about 1 degree to about 3 degrees when measured relative to a line parallel to the lower edge 510 of the inner side wall 500. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 7, the second slot 525 is generally curvilinear in a direction extending from the upper edge 505 to the lower edge 510 of the inner side wall 500.

FIG. 8A is a top plan view and FIG. 8B is a side view of a sliding panel 550 according to some embodiments of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 8A, the sliding panel has a substantially planar exposed surface 555 and includes at least one finger groove 560 located in a front portion 565 of the panel 550. The finger groove 560 assists a user in locating and actuating the sliding panel 550 located within the technology port assembly.

As shown in FIG. 8B, the sliding panel 550 also includes a first set of pin rollers 570 located in the front portion 565 of the sliding panel 550 and a second set of pin rollers 575 located in the rear portion 585 of the sliding panel 550. The first set 570 and the second set 575 of pin rollers each include a pin roller 590 coupled to a left side 592 and a right side 594 of the panel 550 such that the pin rollers 590 are adapted to roll or spin within the slots provided in the inner side walls of the technology port assembly, facilitating the sliding panel 550 to move from an open position to a closed position.

FIGS. 9A and 9B are end views of an inner side wall 600, including a sliding panel 610 according to some embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 9A shows the sliding panel 610 in a closed position. FIG. 9B shows the sliding panel 610 in an open position. As shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B, the sliding panel includes pin rollers 620 adapted to roll or spin within the slot 625 provided in the inner wall 600, facilitating the inner wall to move from a closed position as shown in FIG. 9A to an open position as shown in FIG. 9B. In the open position, the sliding panel 600 does not substantially protrude above the upper surface of the worksurface in which the technology port assembly, including the sliding access panel 610, is integrated.

FIGS. 10A and 10B are end views of an inner side wall 700, including a sliding panel 710 according to other embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 10A shows the sliding panel 710 in a closed position. FIG. 10B shows the sliding panel 710 in an open position. As shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B, the inner side wall 700 includes a first slot 715 and a second slot 720. In some embodiments, the first slot 715 is inclined upward relative to a line parallel with a lower edge 725 of the inner wall 700. The second slot 720 is curvilinear in a direction extending from an upper edge 730 to the lower edge 725 of the inner wall 700. The sliding panel 710 includes a first set of pin rollers 735 adapted to slide within the first slot 715 and a second set of pin rollers 740 adapted to slide within the second slot 720. When the first slot 715 is provided with an incline, the sliding panel 710 is at a natural resting position in the closed position due to gravity. In the open position the sliding panel 710 does not substantially protrude above the upper surface of the worksurface in which the technology port assembly, including the sliding access panel 710, is integrated.

FIG. 11A is a perspective view of a bezel 810 coupled to a technology port assembly 815 according to some embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 11B is a partially exploded view of the bezel 810 and technology port assembly 815 shown in FIG. 11A. The bezel 810 includes an upper, exposed surface 830 and a lower surface 835, and defines an opening 840 having dimensions generally corresponding to the dimensions of the sliding access panel 845 included in the technology port assembly 815. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 11B, the bezel 810 includes one or more retaining clips 850 located on the lower surface 835 of the bezel 810 for securing the bezel 810 to the upper edges 855 of the outer side walls 860 of the technology port assembly 815 such that the lower surface 835 of the bezel 810 rests on an upper surface of the worksurface for a finished appearance.

Various modifications and additions can be made to the exemplary embodiments discussed without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, while the embodiments described above refer to particular features, the scope of this invention also includes embodiments having different combinations of features and embodiments that do not include all of the described features. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the scope of the claims, together with all equivalents thereof.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8875637Mar 15, 2013Nov 4, 2014Inscape CorporationTable access door
US8943978 *May 13, 2013Feb 3, 2015Rgb Systems, Inc.Modular surface mountable enclosure
US20140265753 *May 13, 2013Sep 18, 2014Rgb Systems, Inc.Modular surface mountable enclosure
Classifications
U.S. Classification108/50.02, 108/50.11
International ClassificationA47B37/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B2200/0082, A47B37/00, A47B21/06, A47B2021/066
European ClassificationA47B37/00, A47B21/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 6, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: HNI TECHNOLOGIES INC., IOWA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BAKKER, MITCHELL R.;PHILLIPS, CHRISTOPHER M.;REEL/FRAME:020471/0033;SIGNING DATES FROM 20071221 TO 20071229