US 20090223765 A1
An X-ray-permeable bag is provided with a hinged compartment attached to a wheeled trolley bag by a zippered hinge in side-by-side relationship but are spread horizontally about said hinge for edge-to-edge placement on a conveyor belt so as to allow separate X-ray inspection of the compartments without content removal. In its preferred form, the bag permits separate scanning of a laptop computer and the rest of the bags contents by utilizing a method that reduces the time required to perform an inspection while maintaining the integrity of the inspection process. Additionally, the zippered hinge allows the compartments to be separated so that they may be transported independently.
1. A portable bag for transporting objects to and from an X-ray station for flat inspection thereof, said bag comprising:
distinct first and second compartments which, when said portable bag is hand-carried, being in a vertical side-by-side relationship and functioning as a unitary carrier;
a hand carrying element connected to upper edge of at least one of said first and second compartments when carried; and
a hinge element adjacent to and aligned with said carrying element, said hinge element enabling said first and second compartments to be swung open to cause said compartments to lie in edge-to-edge relationship about said hinge element when placed in said X-ray station.
2. The portable bag in accordance with
at least one of said first and second compartments being lined with padding;
a hinge pivot to allow said first and second compartments to open flat;
3. The portable bag in accordance with
4. A method for X-ray inspecting a laptop computer disposed in a portable bag the steps comprising:
a) providing a portable bag having first and second compartments which, when said portable bag is hand-carried, being in a vertical side-by-side relationship and functioning as a unitary carrier;
b) hinging said compartments along their upper horizontal edges;
c) spreading said first and second hinged compartments to a horizontal condition; and
d) positioning said portable bag flat for X-ray inspection without removing the contents thereof.
5. The method in accordance with
6. The method in accordance with
7. The method in accordance with
The present application is a continuation-in-part application of co-pending U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/068,722, filed Mar. 10, 2008, for CHECKPOINT FRIENDLY LAPTOP BAG, by Marinus Bernard Bosma and Virginia Marie Bosma, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.
The present application is a continuation-in-part application of co-pending United States design patent application, Ser. No. 29/328,103, filed Nov. 19, 2008, for CHECKPOINT FRIENDLY TROLLEY BAG WITH REMOVABLE LAPTOP CASE, by Marinus Bernard Bosma and Virginia Marie Bosma, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.
The present invention relates to a carry-on travel bag and, more particularly, to a computer trolley bag that allows X-ray inspection of the laptop computer without removing it from the bag.
Over a quarter of all air travelers carry laptop computers with them when they pass through airport or other screening checkpoints. The requirement to remove the laptop computer from the bag is a common complaint. Despite the inconvenience it poses to passengers, it is a necessary requirement in order to ensure that the scanned image and more particularly an X-ray scanned image of the laptop computer is not further complicated by the superimposed images of the rest of the bag's contents. If a computer trolley bag were able to eliminate this requirement, it could lower passenger stress levels, increase checkpoint throughput, and reduce the number of claims received for laptop computers that have been damaged during screening. Screening checkpoints are in public buildings, airports; train stations and other forms of public transportation and many private enterprises such as businesses, military checkpoints and secure areas where there is a requirement to understand the composition and content of articles carried by someone into an area. Since screeners do not have time to re-screen laptops in bags that do not offer scanning compatibility, the bag must appear checkpoint friendly by its basic construction, instead of signs, logos, colors, materials or markings. Some airlines require additional fees for hold baggage so there is increasing pressure on passengers to bring baggage on board which increases the need for more efficient screening methods.
Not carrying the laptop computer as carry-on baggage is the most common solution to the problem of removing the laptop computer from the bag for security screening. However, with business travelers who want to get to their destinations and return quickly, having to check baggage is an unnecessary burden on both time and effort especially if the laptop computer is all that is being checked. Also, checking a laptop computer subjects it to the wear and tear caused by baggage handlers, conveyor belts, harsh baggage hold environments and the potential to get lost. The traveler can eliminate all this by carrying the laptop computer with them on the flight. Also, they may use the laptop computer on board, making their travel time more productive. Some airlines charge for hold baggage which increases the need to bring the laptop with the passenger.
There are several bags in the prior art with similar utility. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,509,515; 5,947,241; 6,230,771 and 6,257,381 have two individual bags that are attached to each other with fasteners but do not provide for the assemblage to be laid on the X-ray scanner belt so that no obstructions are in the way of a clear X-ray view of the contents. None of these inventions specifically addresses security screening.
U.S. Pat. No. 7,059,371 is an attempt to ease security screening by allowing the bag to be peered into via a false panel. This invention does not require disassembly of the bag, but falls short of being X-ray friendly.
The systems in U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,293,635 and 6,637,563 are based on the theory that being able to see the contents of a bag visually is enough to clear it through security screening. If that were the case there would be no need to have items X-rayed. A clear bag will show the contents of the bag even if the contents are not what they appear to be. So X-ray screening is still required for these bags.
It is not enough to make the contents visible. In the case of either of these clear bags, the laptop will still have to be removed in order to clear security if there are other items in the bag with it. Additionally, clear bags generally do not have a cushioning capability to protect the laptop from shock. The CarryClear™ laptop bag claims to have a clear cushioning capability but no examples have been shown. Australian provisional application, 2006/902437 discloses a clear laptop bag. The website for the CarryClear™ apparatus (http://carryclear.com) describes the product as being specifically designed for laptops and has some clear padding to protect the laptop. Like all the other preceding prior art, it does not address the suitability of X-ray screening.
Another approach is an accessory for luggage called the scanner bag (http://www.gadgetduck.com/goods/scannerbag.html) which is a line of small bags that are attached to the luggage handle to hold small items that normally would be placed in plastic open top bins to go through the scanner. This item is not big enough to neither hold a laptop nor provide means of ensuring that the laptop is unobstructed if placed inside one.
None of the prior art addresses the relationship between the design and X-ray screening which is the dominant technology for determining the safety of the public. Most of the prior art makes the assumption that being able to visually identify the contents of bags is sufficient. Seeing what appears to be a laptop computer through a transparent bag or a bag whose sides have been removed does not ensure that the contents are not cleverly disguised as an authorized item. Only by X-raying the articles and positively identifying its interior components can security screeners ensure no contraband. Therefore, despite having the items visible they still require removal from the bag if there are wires, power supplies, batteries, pens, keys or other items in the line of sight of the X-ray screening apparatus.
It would be advantageous to provide a multi-compartment travel bag the compartments of which are carried side-by-side but are hinged for placement in end-to-end relationship on a belt for ease of X-ray screening.
It would also be advantageous to provide a computer trolley bag that allows a laptop computer to be scanned at airport screening stations without having to be removed from its bag.
It would also be advantageous to provide a computer trolley bag that protects the laptop computer from damage.
It would also be advantageous to provide a format for the bag that is easily recognizable by airport security screening personnel as “checkpoint friendly,” a bag that allows the laptop computer to remain inside during security screening.
It would also be advantageous to provide a computer trolley bag that can display the keyboard and display of the laptop without removing it from the bag for additional verification that the article in the bag is a functional laptop computer.
It would also be advantageous to provide a bag that has a laptop computer compartment so tightly fitting to the laptop that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to put other items in the bag with the laptop.
It would also be advantageous to provide a multi-compartment travel bag where one compartment is intended only for a laptop computer.
It would also be advantageous to provide a bag that can be placed on and removed from the scanner belt without having to unsnap and re-snap fasteners.
It would also be advantageous to provide a bag that can be used as a work surface so that the laptop computer can be used without removing it from the bag.
It would also be advantageous to provide a bag that enables its easy deposit on and removal from a conveying belt through hand placement and handle pick-up respectively.
It would also be advantageous to eliminate the need for bins for containing laptop computers while scanning, as well as handling such bins in manual returning them to the inlet end of the scanner after each scanning cycle.
It would also be advantageous to have a removable laptop compartment to allow the carry of the laptop computer without having to bring personal items such as would be stowed in a suitcase with the user.
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a computer trolley bag with a plurality of openable compartments so that the compartments can lie horizontally on the screening system conveyor. One compartment is for holding the laptop computer and nothing else. The other side of the bag has provisions for stowing objects that would otherwise obstruct a clear view of the laptop. The laptop compartment can swing out in a way to present it for the best aspect for X-ray scanning. The appearance of the bag with its two compartments and the manner in which they swing away from each other to lay flatly on the scanner belt distinguishes this laptop bag from standard computer trolley bag thereby making it readily recognizable by screening personnel as checkpoint friendly. The way this computer trolley bag is used is to stow the retractable pull handle, cleave the laptop compartment away from the rest of the bag, lay the bag on the X-ray scanning platform whether a conveyor or stationary and after X-ray scanning, lift the bag from the belt by the handle grip or shoulder straps restoring the bag to the pre-scanning configuration gravitationally.
A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent, detailed description, in which:
For purposes of clarity and brevity, like elements and components will bear the same designations and numbering throughout the Figures.
To use the checkpoint friendly trolley bag with removable laptop case the user cleaves the first compartment 9 containing the laptop computer away from the second compartment 12 by pulling them away from each other at the bottom away from the hinge and laying the entire assembly flatly on the conveyor belt or scanner tray. The assembly passes under the X-ray beam where it is inspected and once the inspection is finished and the bag emerges from the scanner the user lifts the bag from the scanner surface by either the handle 13. The compartments 9, 12 will fall back together gravitationally and cling to each other by the hook and loop fasteners 5 between the compartments. The user then raises the handle 1 to the extended position. There is no further action required on the part of the user to restore the bag back to the mobility configuration.
Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.
Having thus described the invention, what is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is presented in the subsequently appended claims.