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Publication numberUS20100300158 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/446,568
PCT numberPCT/US2007/082139
Publication dateDec 2, 2010
Filing dateOct 22, 2007
Priority dateOct 23, 2006
Also published asCN101688410A, US8842422, US20110013361, US20110122551, US20140247553, WO2008051919A2, WO2008051919A3, WO2008051927A2, WO2008051927A3, WO2008051927A9, WO2008051930A2, WO2008051930A3
Publication number12446568, 446568, PCT/2007/82139, PCT/US/2007/082139, PCT/US/2007/82139, PCT/US/7/082139, PCT/US/7/82139, PCT/US2007/082139, PCT/US2007/82139, PCT/US2007082139, PCT/US200782139, PCT/US7/082139, PCT/US7/82139, PCT/US7082139, PCT/US782139, US 2010/0300158 A1, US 2010/300158 A1, US 20100300158 A1, US 20100300158A1, US 2010300158 A1, US 2010300158A1, US-A1-20100300158, US-A1-2010300158, US2010/0300158A1, US2010/300158A1, US20100300158 A1, US20100300158A1, US2010300158 A1, US2010300158A1
InventorsGuillermo Andres, Ryan White, John Hung, Lambert Kuo
Original AssigneeAcco Brands Usa Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Security apparatus
US 20100300158 A1
Abstract
A security apparatus is disclosed. The security apparatus is used with a lock interface member attached to a housing of a portable electronic device. The security apparatus may include a head comprising a plurality of engagement elements adapted to engage the lock interface member via the engagement regions, where the engagement elements are capable of extending radially outward to engage the engagement regions of the interface member.
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Claims(25)
1. A security apparatus for use with a lock interface member comprising an aperture and engagement regions, the security apparatus comprising:
a head comprising a plurality of engagement elements adapted to engage the lock interface member via the engagement regions, wherein the engagement elements are capable of extending radially outward to engage the engagement regions; and
a security device coupled to the head.
2. The security apparatus of claim 1 wherein the engagement elements comprise balls.
3. The security apparatus of claim 1 wherein the head further comprises a retaining element comprising a retainer clip, and wherein the retainer clip holds the balls in a fixed axial position.
4. The security apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a spindle comprising recesses defined by raised portions, wherein the raised portions are configured to push the balls outward when the spindle is rotated to a locked position and wherein the recesses are configured to receive the balls when the spindle is rotated to an unlocked position.
5. The security apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a locking mechanism comprising a first cylinder and a second cylinder in the head, wherein the second cylinder is adapted to rotate relative to the first cylinder.
6. The security apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first and second cylinders comprise a plurality of axially extending holes in the first cylinder and the second cylinder, and pins in the axially extending holes.
7. The security apparatus of claim 1 wherein the head comprises a key locking mechanism.
8. A system comprising:
a portable electronic device comprising a lock interface member having an aperture and engagement regions; and
a security apparatus for use with the lock interface member, the security apparatus comprising a head comprising a plurality of engagement elements adapted to engage the lock interface member via the engagement regions, wherein the engagement elements are capable of extending radially outward to engage the engagement regions.
9. The system of claim 8 wherein the portable electronic device comprises a computer.
10. The system of claim 8 wherein the lock interface member is in the form of a collar.
11. The system of claim 8 wherein the engagement regions are recesses cooperatively structured with the engagement elements.
12. The system of claim 8 wherein the engagement elements comprise balls.
13. A method for securing a security apparatus of claim 1 to the lock interface member, the method comprising:
(a) inserting engagement elements into the aperture of the lock interface member; and
(b) pushing the engagement elements radially outward so that the engagement elements engage the lock interface member.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising, turning a key and then pushing the engagement elements radially outward.
15. The method of claim 13 wherein the security device comprises a cable and a loop at an end of the cable, wherein the method further comprises:
wrapping the cable around an immovable object;
inserting the head into the loop; and
then performing (a) and (b).
16. A security apparatus comprising:
a head comprising a plurality of elongated engagement elements adapted to engage an aperture in a portable electronic device or in a lock interface member in the portable electronic device, a rotatable spindle comprising a plurality of bumps, and a locking mechanism, wherein the bumps on the spindle are configured to push the elongated engagement elements radially outward when the spindle is rotated; and
a security device attached to the head.
17. The security apparatus of claim 16 wherein the engagement elements comprise flanges at the ends of the engagement elements.
18. A system comprising:
a portable electronic device;
an aperture associated with the portable electronic device; and
a security apparatus comprising a head comprising a plurality of elongated engagement elements adapted to engage the aperture, a rotatable spindle comprising a plurality of bumps, and a locking mechanism, wherein the bumps on the spindle are configured to push the elongated engagement elements radially outward when the spindle is rotated.
19. The system of claim 18 wherein the security apparatus further comprises a cable coupled to the head.
20. The system of claim 18 wherein the cable comprises a loop at an end of the cable.
21. The system of claim 18 wherein the portable electronic device comprises a portable computer.
22. A method for using the security apparatus of claim 16, the method comprising:
(a) inserting the plurality of elongated engagement elements into the aperture;
(b) rotating the spindle;
(c) extending the elongated engagement elements radially outward; and
(d) locking the head.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein the method further comprises:
unlocking the head;
rotating the spindle in an opposite direction to the direction of rotation in (b);
retracting the elongated engagement elements radially inward.
24. The method of claim 22 wherein the portable electronic device comprises a portable computer.
25. The method of claim 22 wherein the head comprises a key locking mechanism.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a non-provisional of and claims the benefit of the filing dates of the following U.S. provisional patent applications: 60/853,888, filed on Oct. 23, 2006; 60/909,867, filed on Apr. 3, 2007, and 60/940,318, filed on May 25, 2007, which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Embodiments of the present invention relate to devices for inhibiting the theft of relatively small but expensive pieces of equipment.
  • [0003]
    Computers have evolved rather rapidly from large, expensive machines usable only by a few, to relatively small, portable machines which are usable by many. In particular, the development of personal computers with significant processing power has made computers available to the general population. It is now common for college and even high school students to have their own computer, and personal computers are in wide spread use as word processors and work stations in almost all forms of business. Personal computers are relatively small and easily transportable, and an undesirable side effect of their proliferation is the fact that the theft of such computers is a significant problem.
  • [0004]
    A variety of devices have been developed to inhibit the theft of personal computers and similar equipment. Since personal computer systems involve several components, typically including the computer itself, a separate monitor, keyboard and often a printer, such security systems often employ a cable which attaches each of the components to each other and to a relatively immovable object such as a desk. The principal difficulty in such systems is providing an effective and convenient method for attaching the cable itself to the equipment.
  • [0005]
    One way to address the problem of computer security is to provide a small, generally rectangular slot in a wall of a computer. A security apparatus with a locking head may be secured to the computer via the rectangular slot.
  • [0006]
    While the conventional rectangular slot solution is effective, improvements could be made. For example, although thieves are deterred from stealing portable computers secured by conventional security mechanisms, in some cases, such thieves may be more interested in the data stored in the computers rather than the computers themselves. Accordingly, the damage that may occur to a computer that may occur during the theft of the computer may not deter a thief who wants the data stored inside of the computer. It would be desirable to improve the strength of the physical coupling between the security apparatus and the computer and so that it is more difficult for potential thieves to separate the security apparatus from the computer.
  • [0007]
    Embodiments of the invention address these and other problems, individually and collectively.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • [0008]
    Embodiments of the invention are directed to security apparatuses, systems, and methods for using such security apparatuses. Other embodiments of the invention may be directed to lock interface members and systems and methods incorporating such lock interface members.
  • [0009]
    One embodiment of the invention is directed to a security apparatus for use with a lock interface member comprising an aperture and engagement regions. The security apparatus comprises a head comprising a plurality of engagement elements adapted to engage the lock interface member via the engagement regions. The engagement elements are capable of extending radially outward to engage the engagement regions. A security device is coupled to the head.
  • [0010]
    Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a system comprising a portable electronic device comprising a lock interface member having an aperture and engagement regions, and a security apparatus for use with the lock interface member. The security apparatus comprises a head comprising a plurality of engagement elements adapted to engage the lock interface member via the engagement regions. The engagement elements are capable of extending radially outward to engage the engagement regions.
  • [0011]
    Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a method for securing the above-described security apparatus to the lock interface member. The method comprises: (a) inserting engagement elements into the aperture of the lock interface member; and (b) pushing the engagement elements radially outward so that the engagement elements engage the lock interface member.
  • [0012]
    Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a security apparatus comprising a head comprising a plurality of elongated engagement elements adapted to engage an aperture in a lock interface member in a portable electronic device. The security apparatus comprises a rotatable spindle comprising a plurality of bumps, and a locking mechanism. The bumps on the spindle are configured to push the elongated engagement elements radially outward when the spindle is rotated, and a security device attached to the head.
  • [0013]
    Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a system comprising a portable electronic device, an aperture associated with a lock interface member in the portable electronic device, and a security apparatus. The security apparatus comprises a head comprising a plurality of elongated engagement elements adapted to engage the aperture, a rotatable spindle comprising a plurality of bumps, and a locking mechanism. The bumps on the spindle are configured to push the elongated engagement elements radially outward when the spindle is rotated.
  • [0014]
    Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a method for using the above-described security apparatus. The method comprises: (a) inserting the plurality of elongated engagement elements into the aperture; (b) rotating the spindle; (c) extending the elongated engagement elements radially outward; and (d) locking the head.
  • [0015]
    These and other embodiments of the invention are described in further detail below.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a portable electronic device and a security apparatus.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 2( a) shows a portion of a wall of a portable electronic device and another lock interface member.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2( b) shows a perspective view of a portion of another security apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2( c) shows a perspective view of the portion of the security apparatus shown in FIG. 2( b), as a portion of a head is inserted through an aperture in the wall of a portable electronic device and an aperture in the lock interface member. The engagement elements are in the form of balls and they are not yet engaged with the lock interface member. A portion of the lock interface member and the wall are cut away.
  • [0020]
    FIGS. 2( d) and 2(e) are views that are similar to the view in FIG. 2( c), except that the balls are engaged to the lock interface member.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2( f) shows a cross-sectional view of a portion of the balls as they are present in the lock interface member.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 2( g) shows a perspective view of a security apparatus comprising balls, wherein the balls are not engaged to a lock interface member attached to a wall of a portable electronic device.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 2( h) shows a cross-sectional view of a portion of the balls as they are in a withdrawn position and are not engaged to the lock interface member.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 2( i) shows an exploded view of the security apparatus shown in FIG. 5( a), along with other components.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2( k) is a front view of another lock interface member according to an embodiment of the invention.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 2( l) is a side, cross-sectional view of the lock interface member shown in FIG. 2( k).
  • [0027]
    FIG. 2( m) is a perspective view of the lock interface member shown in FIG. 2( k).
  • [0028]
    FIG. 3( a) shows a perspective view of a wall of a housing of a portable electronic device and an aperture in the wall. A security apparatus comprising a head according to another embodiment of the invention is also shown.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 3( b) shows a perspective view of the head shown in FIG. 3( a) where engagement elements of the security device do not engage the wall.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 3( c) shows a perspective view of the head shown in FIG. 3( c) where the engagement elements do engage the wall.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 3( d) shows a perspective side view of the head shown in FIG. 3( a), where a portion of the head and the wall are cut away. The engagement elements engage the wall.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 3( e) shows a perspective side view of the head shown in FIG. 3( a), where a portion of the head and the wall are cut away. The engagement elements do not engage the wall.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 3( f) shows an exploded view of another head according to another embodiment of the invention.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 4( a) is a system comprising a security apparatus of the type shown in FIGS. 3( a)-3(f) and a lock interface member.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 4( b) shows the system in FIG. 4( a) wherein engagement elements and a stabilizing element are inserted into an aperture in the lock interface member, but the engagement elements are not yet engaged to the lock interface member.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 4( c) shows the system in FIG. 4( a) wherein engagement elements and a stabilizing element are inserted into an aperture in the lock interface member, wherein the engagement elements are engaged to the lock interface member.
  • [0037]
    In the Figures, like numerals designate like elements.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0038]
    Embodiments of the invention are directed to security apparatuses, methods for using security apparatuses, and systems using such security apparatuses. The security apparatuses can be used to prevent or deter the theft of devices such as portable electronic devices.
  • [0039]
    In addition, in embodiments of the invention, a lock interface member may be used to enhance security and to improve the strength of the coupling between a portable electronic device and a security apparatus. The lock interface member may be an attachment that may be attached to the housing of the portable electronic device, or it may be integrally formed in the housing or other component of the portable electronic device. For example, in some embodiments, the lock interface member may be integrally formed with (e.g., a wall portion of a wall or chassis portion of a chassis, and the lock interface member may be formed from the same material without an interface), or operatively or physically coupled to the chassis of the portable electronic device and/or may be operatively or electrically coupled to some electrical component (e.g., a memory chip, disk drive, or microprocessor) in the portable electronic device. In addition, if the lock interface member is a separate component from the wall of the portable electronic device, the lock interface member may be positioned within an aperture formed in a wall of the portable electronic device, or inside of the portable electronic device. Exemplary lock interface members are described in further detail below.
  • [0040]
    By using a lock interface member, the strength of the coupling between the security apparatus and the lock interface member is increased over a conventional physical security system including a portable electronic device comprising only a 3×7 mm2 security slot and a physical security apparatus secured to the portable electronic device via the security slot. A conventional security system such as this can withstand 150 lbs of force, because the plastic housing of the portable consumer device can fail or break when this magnitude of force is applied. Also, current locks on the market are designed to withstand 300 lbs of force before they are broken. Further, the ability to “torque” the conventional security apparatus out of a security slot is also of concern. Improved security apparatuses and systems are therefore desirable.
  • [0041]
    Using embodiments of the invention, the strength of the coupling between the security apparatus and the portable electronic device may be increased by at least 2, 6, or even 8 times compared to conventional systems. For example, by using embodiments of the invention, it may take more than about 300 lbs of force, or even more than about 500, 1000, or 2000 lbs of force to break the physical coupling between the head in a security apparatus and the lock interface member associated with the portable electronic device to which it is secured. As shown below, the engagement elements and stabilizing elements are preferably cooperatively structured with the internal surfaces of the lock interface member. The potential contact area between the engagement element and the inner surfaces of the lock interface member is more than in a conventional locking system. For example, in some embodiments, the contact area between the lock interface member and parts of a corresponding locking head can be at least about 5 times greater than conventional security systems. This increased contact area can also provide for better load distribution when stresses are applied to mating surfaces. The engagement elements and the stabilizing elements are also stronger than conventional elements in conventional locks, and weak links are reduced as compared to conventional security systems. Accordingly, embodiments of the invention are stronger and therefore more effective at deterring and preventing the theft of portable electronic devices than conventional security systems.
  • [0042]
    A security apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention may comprise a head and a security device. The head and the security device may be physically and/or operationally coupled together.
  • [0043]
    The security device may comprise a cable, or some other type of device to provide security. If the security device comprises a cable, then the cable may be secured to an immovable object such as a desk or cabinet so that a portable electronic device coupled to the cable cannot be removed. The cable may comprise stainless steel, KevlarŽ, or some other type of strong material.
  • [0044]
    In another embodiment, the security device may comprise a wireless device such as a wireless transmitter and/or receiver. The wireless device may be used in a proximity detection system or a motion detection system. For example, a motion detector could present in the wireless device so that when the motion detector moves, an associated alarm is triggered. The alarm may be in the security device or may be external to the security device. In another embodiment, there may be a base device associated with the wireless device, and these components may be used in a proximity detection system. Wireless signals may be transmitted between the security device and the base device, and when these devices are separated by a predetermined distance, an associated alarm (e.g., an audible alarm) may be triggered. The alarm could be in the base device or in the security device. The electronics associated with such wireless systems are known to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0045]
    The head in the security apparatus may be a locking head. A locking head according to an embodiment of the invention may comprise a locking mechanism such as a key locking mechanism or a combination locking mechanism disposed within a locking head housing. Various types of locking heads are described in further detail below.
  • [0046]
    The portable electronic device that is to be secured may comprise any suitable device. Examples of such devices comprise portable computers such laptop, desktop, and server computers, flat panel televisions, projectors, monitors, portable music players, printers, external hard-drives, cell phones, etc.
  • [0047]
    The parts of the locking head and/or the lock interface member may be made of any suitable material, and may be formed in any suitable manner. Suitable materials include materials such as stainless steel, nickel alloys, etc. They can be formed by machining, molding, etc.
  • [0048]
    As used herein, in the above described embodiments and in other embodiments, an “aperture” may include a blind aperture or a through aperture. A through aperture may be in the form of a hole, or a recess. Apertures according to embodiments of the invention can be of any suitable size, but preferably have dimensions less than about 10 mm in some embodiments.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 1 shows a system comprising a portable electronic device 30 and a security apparatus 26 that is used to secure the portable electronic device 30 to an immovable object 10 such as a desk leg or the like. The security apparatus 26 comprises a head 28 and a cable 32 coupled to the head 28, which may be a locking head in this example. A loop 34 is at a terminal end of the head 28. The cable 32 may comprise a strong material such as stainless steel or Kevlar™.
  • [0050]
    To secure the portable electronic device 30 to the immovable object, the cable 32 may be wrapped around the immovable object and the head 28 may pass through the loop 34. An engagement element in the head 28 may then be inserted into an aperture in the portable electronic device 30, or in an aperture in a lock interface member that is associated with the portable electronic device 30. Before, during, or after this, a stabilizing element may then be inserted into the aperture in the lock interface member to stabilize the head 28 so that the engagement element cannot be readily withdrawn from the aperture. A locking mechanism such as a key locking mechanism or a combination locking mechanism may be used to keep the stabilizing element and/or the engagement element from moving or not moving.
  • [0051]
    An embodiment of the invention can be directed to a security apparatus for use with a lock interface member comprising an aperture and engagement regions. The security apparatus comprises a head comprising a plurality of engagement elements adapted to engage the lock interface member via the engagement regions, wherein the engagement elements are capable of extending radially outward to engage the engagement regions. The engagement regions may be structurally discrete or non-discrete regions. For example, in some cases, the engagement regions may be a single curved surface with areas for engagement by many engagement elements. A security device may be coupled to the head.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 2( a) shows a lock interface member 402 attached to the inner surface of a wall 404. The wall 404 may be part of a housing of a portable electronic device (not shown). In this example, the lock interface member 402 is circular or disk-shaped.
  • [0053]
    A security apparatus 400 that can be used with the lock interface member 402 is shown in FIG. 2( b). The security apparatus 400 comprises a head 400(a) attached to a cable 460. The head 400(a) includes a cable ring 410 and a body 444 which may form a housing as in other embodiments of the invention.
  • [0054]
    As shown in FIG. 2( c), the head 400(a) comprises a post 414 which may include a spring clip 414(a). The post 414 may be considered a stabilizing element. The post 414 may be inserted into the aperture in the lock interface member 402 as shown in FIG. 5( c). In this example, the aperture in the lock interface member 402 is in the form of the through aperture. At this point, balls 406 in the post 414 are retracted.
  • [0055]
    As shown in FIG. 2( d), a key (not shown) may be inserted into a keyway at the rear of the head 400(a) and may then be turned. The turning of the key may cause the balls 406 to extend radially outward so that corresponding inner recesses 402(a) in the lock interface member 402 are engaged by the balls 406. The balls 406 may be characterized as engagement elements in some cases, and the recesses 402(a) may be characterized as discrete engagement regions in other embodiments.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 2( e) is a partial cut away view showing balls 406 in inwardly facing recesses 402(a) in the lock interface member 402(a). A spindle 408 can rotate and can cause the balls 406 to extend radially outward. As shown in FIG. 2( f), a terminal end of the spindle 408 may resemble a triangle with curved sides. The corners of the triangle may be considered raised portions and may push the balls 406 radially outward when the head 400(a) transitions from an unlocked configuration to a locked configuration.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 2( g) shows a partial cut away view showing balls 406 withdrawn into recesses 408(a) in the terminal end 408(b) of the spindle 408. As shown in FIG. 2( h), the balls 406 are in recesses 408(a) at the terminal end of the spindle 408. The head is thereafter in an unlocked configuration, and as shown in FIG. 2( h), the balls 406 do not contact engagement regions in the lock interface member 402.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 2( i) shows an exploded view of the security apparatus shown in FIG. 2( b). In FIG. 2( i), a body 444 is cylindrically shaped, and has at least one aperture 444(a). The aperture 444(a) can align with aperture 410(a) in the cable ring 410 and aperture 412(c) in a spindle holder 412. As in prior embodiments, the cable ring 410 has a ferrule holder 430 and a ferrule 432 attached to it.
  • [0059]
    The spindle holder 412 comprises a plate portion 412(a), which is shaped like a disk at end, and an apertured portion 412(b) at another end. An axial passage 412(d) runs axially through the spindle holder 412.
  • [0060]
    Three balls 406 (e.g., steel ball bearings) may be sandwiched between the apertures in the apertured portion 412(b) of the spindle holder 412 and a retainer clip 414(a) having corresponding apertures. The apertures in the retaining clip 412 (or spring clip) and the apertured portion 412(b) of the spindle holder 412 may radially overlap, and may have diameters that are smaller than the diameters of the balls 406. The retaining clip 412 can flex or is resilient so that the balls 406 can extend radially outward or retract radially inward while being retained between the retaining clip 412 and the apertured portion 412(b) in fixed axial positions.
  • [0061]
    The head in the security apparatus shown in FIG. 2( i) includes a locking mechanism which may comprise a first cylinder 420 and a second cylinder 422. The first cylinder 420 and a second cylinder 422, with other components, may form parts of a locking mechanism. The first cylinder 420 may include a first plurality of axial holes which may receive driver pins (not shown) and springs (not shown), while the second cylinder 422 may include a second plurality of axial holes in a rear portion 422(a) which may receive key pins (not shown). The second cylinder 422 may also comprise a front portion 422(b) which may have a smaller diameter than the rear portion 422(b). The second cylinder 422 may rotate relative to the first cylinder 420 when a key is inserted through a keyway at a rear of the second cylinder 422 and turned. The key pins may be driven inward different lengths by a key (not shown) with so that no pins lay across a shear line between the first cylinder 420 and the second cylinder 422.
  • [0062]
    Another pin 424 passes through a radially extending hole 422(b)-1 and is inserted in hole 408(b)-1 in the spindle 408, so that the spindle 408 is coupled to the second cylinder 422. As shown, the spindle 408 includes a rear portion 408(b) and a front portion 408(a). The rear portion 408(b) engages the second cylinder 422, while the front portion 408(a) engages and manipulates balls 406.
  • [0063]
    A lock interface member 402 is also shown in FIG. 2( i). The details of this particular lock interface member 402 are provided below.
  • [0064]
    Referring to FIG. 2( i), in use, a key (not shown) may be inserted into a keyway in the second cylinder 422, and may be turned, for example, clockwise. The second cylinder 422(a) can thereafter turn the spindle 408, and the raised portions at the front portion 408(a) of the spindle pushes the balls 406 radially outward to engage the lock interface member 402. The balls 406 are held in fixed axial positions. The key is withdrawn and the head is thereafter in a locked configuration.
  • [0065]
    To unlock the head, the key is inserted into the keyway in the second cylinder 422 and may be turned, for example, counter clockwise. The spindle 408 may then turn, thereby causing the balls 406 to retract into recesses at the terminal end of the spindle 408. Once the balls 406 retract, the balls 406 and therefore the head disengage from the lock interface member 402 and the head can be withdrawn from the lock interface member 402.
  • [0066]
    FIGS. 2( k)-2(m) show different views of the previously described lock interface member 402. Exemplary dimensions of the parts of the lock interface member 402 are shown in FIG. 2( k) in millimeters. As shown in FIG. 2( k), the lock interface member 402 comprises a tab 402(c) attached (e.g., integrally attached) to a ring 402(b). As shown in FIG. 2( l), the tab 402(c) is oriented perpendicular to the ring 402(b), and has a hole 402(c)-1. The ring 402(b) has an inner rim 402(b)-2, an outer edge portion 402(b)-1, and an axially extending inner portion 402(b)-3. The previously described balls can engage the rim 402(b)-2, which may be a continuous, curved surface as shown in FIG. 2( l). In other embodiments, the rim may have a more abrupt surface. The rim 402(b)-2 may comprise a plurality of engagement regions, even though it is a continuous surface. FIG. 2( m) shows a perspective view of the lock interface member 402.
  • [0067]
    Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a security apparatus comprising a head comprising a plurality of elongated engagement elements adapted to engage an aperture in a lock interface member in a portable electronic device. The security apparatus comprises a rotatable spindle comprising a plurality of bumps, and a locking mechanism. The bumps on the spindle are configured to push the elongated engagement elements radially outward when the spindle is rotated, and a security device attached to the head.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 3( a) shows an embodiment of the invention of this type. FIG. 3( a) shows a security apparatus 500 comprising a head 500(a). The head 500(a) comprises a body 510, a cable ring 526, and an engagement arm housing 522 with a front portion 522(a) which is cooperatively structured with an aperture 508(a) in a wall 508 of a portable electronic device (not shown here, but shown in other Figures). These components may form a housing for the head 500(a). The engagement arm housing 522 houses four engagement arms 524(a) which are spaced at regular radial positions (e.g., 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock). The engagement arms 524(a) surround a front portion 518(b) of a spindle, and may comprise flanges.
  • [0069]
    Referring to FIG. 3( b), a portion of the engagement arm housing 522 is inserted into the aperture 508(a) of the wall 508 of the portable electronic device. The engagement arms 524(a) are not yet radially extended and the head 500(a) is in an unlocked configuration.
  • [0070]
    FIG. 3( c)-3(d) show the head 500(a) after the head 500(a) is changed to a locked configuration. The front portion 518(b) of the spindle is rotated using a key (not shown), bumps 518(b)-1 on the engagement arms 524(a) push the forward ends of the engagement arms 524 radially outward to engage the surface defining the aperture 508(a) and the inner surface of the wall 508. Each engagement arm 524 includes a flange that extends radially outward.
  • [0071]
    As shown in FIG. 3( d), the front portions of the engagement arms 524 extend radially outward when the head 500(a) has a locked configuration. However, in the locked configuration, the rear portions of the engagement arms 524 have radially fixed positions in both the locked and unlocked configurations. The engagement arms 524 can be characterized as pivoting at their rear portions and may have separate pivot points. Pins 512(a), 512(b) secure the body 510 to the engagement arm housing 522.
  • [0072]
    FIG. 3( e) shows the head 500(a) in an unlocked configuration. As shown, the engagement arms are positioned between the bumps 518(b)-1 so that they are retracted radially inward. The engagement arms 524 are no longer engaged with the wall of the portable electronic device, and the head 500(b) can be separated from it.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 3( f) shows an exploded view of the previously described lock apparatus 500. FIG. 3( f) shows a cylindrical body 510 comprising holes 512(a). Pins 512(a), 512(b) secure the body 510 to the engagement arm housing 522, which may be referred to as a collet housing in some cases. As described above, at least portions of the engagement arms 524 are inside of the engagement arm housing 522. Two retainer clips 520 are used to retain the ends of the engagement arms 524.
  • [0074]
    A locking mechanism including a first cylinder 516 and a second cylinder 514 are disposed in the body 510. The characteristics of the first and second cylinders 516, 514 may be the same as the previously described first and second cylinders. In addition, the second cylinder has an elongated portion 514(b) which couples to the rear portion 518(a) of the spindle 518 using a pin 512(b).
  • [0075]
    As in prior embodiments, a ferrule holder 528 and a ferrule 530 are attached to the cable ring 526. A snap ring 523 and an optional lock interface member 532 are also shown in FIG. 3( f). The lock interface member 532 may include or be in the form of a collar.
  • [0076]
    FIGS. 4( a)-4(c) are similar to FIGS. 4( a)-4(c), except that a lock interface member 534 is shown and used. The lock interface member 534 includes a ring 534(a), an inner rim, and a perpendicular tab 534(c). As shown, the flanges associated with the engagement arms 524 can engage the lock interface member 534.
  • [0077]
    The lock interface member 534 comprises a ring portion 534(a) including a rim 534(b) which may be in the form of a continuous surface. A tab 534(c) extends from the ring portion 534(a) and is oriented perpendicular to the orientation of the ring portion 534(b). As in prior embodiments, the tab 534(c) may be used to attach the lock interface member 534 to a structural component of the portable electronic device including the wall 599.
  • [0078]
    Embodiments of the invention have a number of advantages. As shown above, some embodiments use a lock interface member which has multiple points of engagement with engagement elements in a locking head. This provides for a stronger connection between the locking head and a portable electronic device including the lock interface member. It also makes it more difficult to torque a head out of the interface member.
  • [0079]
    The above description is illustrative and is not restrictive. Many variations of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the disclosure. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined not with reference to the above description, but instead should be determined with reference to the pending claims along with their full scope or equivalents.
  • [0080]
    One or more features from any embodiment may be combined with one or more features of any other embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention.
  • [0081]
    A recitation of “a”, “an” or “the” is intended to mean “one or more” unless specifically indicated to the contrary.
  • [0082]
    All patents, patent applications, publications, and descriptions mentioned above are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes. None is admitted to be prior art.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8042366 *Oct 25, 2011Acco Brands Usa LlcSecurity apparatus including attachment device
US8079237 *Dec 20, 2011Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.Locking assembly for electronic device
US8640510 *Nov 14, 2011Feb 4, 2014Jay S. DermanInterface member for lock system and method
US9137911 *Aug 23, 2013Sep 15, 2015Meir AvganimComputer security lock for trapezoidal security slot
US9273496May 24, 2012Mar 1, 2016James TheobaldAnti-theft devices and methods
US20100154493 *Apr 13, 2009Jun 24, 2010Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.Locking assembly for electronic device
US20100180648 *Aug 29, 2008Jul 22, 2010Stefan KnoxSecurity attachment and method for use with a security slot, e.g. in a laptop computer
US20110061427 *Sep 27, 2010Mar 17, 2011Robert MahaffeySecurity apparatus including attachment device
US20110080707 *Apr 7, 2011ACCO Brands USA LLC.Security apparatus including locking head
US20130160502 *Dec 20, 2012Jun 27, 2013Meir AvganimLock for electronic device
US20140085788 *Aug 23, 2013Mar 27, 2014Meir AvganimComputer security lock for trapezoidal security slot
Classifications
U.S. Classification70/58
International ClassificationE05B73/00
Cooperative ClassificationY10T70/8973, Y10T70/413, Y10T70/50, Y10T70/5009, Y10T70/402, E05B73/00, E05B73/0082, G06F1/16, E05B73/0005
European ClassificationE05B73/00D
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