|Publication number||US3832810 A|
|Publication date||Sep 3, 1974|
|Filing date||Aug 15, 1972|
|Priority date||Aug 15, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3832810 A, US 3832810A, US-A-3832810, US3832810 A, US3832810A|
|Original Assignee||Johnston W|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Referenced by (12), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
[ 1 Sept. 3, 1974 1 1 ENVIRONMENTAL MODULE  Inventor: William W. Johnston, 1016 E.
Wineland, Augusta, Ga. 30904  Filed: Aug. 15, 1972 ] Appl. No.: 280,802
521 US. Cl. 52/67  Int. Cl E04b U911  Field of Search 52/67, 64, 66; 49/445, 49/449, 200
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,150,232 4/1915 Starr 52/64 2,193,352 3/1940 Thomas 52/67 2,596,932 3/1952 Kessler 49/445 2,739,833 3/1956 Schenkel.... 52/67 2,862,253 2/1958 Place 52/67 3,075,376 l/l963 Christensen 49/449 3,095,922 7/1963 Frazier 49/445 3,148,640 9/1964 109/18 3,208,110 9/1965 Griffin 49/449 3,315,421 4/1967 Roy .1 52/66 3,399,491 9/1968 Dawidowicz 49/445 3,471,189 10/1969 Ness 49/449 3,598,039 8/1971 Bryant 1 52/67 3,601,342 8/1971 Piasecki 52/118 Primary Examiner-John E. Murtagh Assistant ExaminerHenry Raduazo Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Cushman, Darby and Cushman [57 ABSTRACT 7 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures ENVIRONMENTAL MODULE This invention relates to enclosures for isolating a portion of a room from the remainder of the room and in particular to novel expandable enclosures adapted to be suspended from the ceiling.
Known enclosures or environmental modules for completely or partially isolating a person from his immediate environment usually take the form of a framework having the dimensions of the desired enclosure and a covering for the framework. Such enclosures are employed for various purposes, usually for isolation to prevent spread of disease or for providing a special treatment atmosphere for the patient.
According to the principles of the present invention, an environmental module comprises vertically telescoping hollow sections which in the extended or operative position form side walls suspended from the ceiling of a room. The uppermost section remains connected to the ceiling so that in the retracted or stowed form the other sections are nested either within or around the uppermost section. In the preferred embodiment all but the uppermost section are suspended by means of wind-up spring devices located at ceiling height. The spring devices bias the sections toward a retracted position yet permit the sections to be pulled down against the force of the springs. In the expanded position, the lower edge of the lowermost section preferably engages the floor, although in some cases this may be unnecessary. Alternatively, the module may include its own floor section which in the operative position rests on the floor of the room.
The invention will be further understood from the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment of the invention, taken with the drawings in which FIG. 1 is an elevational view of an environmental module embodying the principles of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the module of FIG. 1 in its retracted, stowed position; and
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the module of FIG. 1 in its expanded, operative position.
The environmental module illustrated in the draw ings is constructed of three side wall sections l0, l2 and 14, each of which is formed of three wall panels arranged in an open-box configuration. The resulting open side of the module is provided with a door frame panel 16 which is supported by a horizontal hinge 18 extending between the upper edges of two panels of the uppermost section 10. In FIG. 1 the module is illustrated within a room having a ceiling 20, a floor 22 and walls 24, and the door frame panel 16 is shown in a raised position parallel to the ceiling 20. The door frame panel 16 includes a door 26 supported within an opening in the panel 16 by means of hinges 28. When the panel 16 is rotated 90 downwardly from the position illustrated in FIG. 1, the side edges of the panel 16 engage the corresponding edges of the side wall sections 10, 12 and 14, and the door 26 is in a position to permit persons to enter and leave the interior of the module.
The uppermost side wall section is secured to the ceiling in any convenient manner as by means of brackets 30. If desired the section 10 can be suspended slightly below the ceiling, in which case a separate ceiling panel will be installed in the section 10. The section 10 may also be supported in a manner to be moved along the ceiling 20 so that the module can be positioned at various locations within the room.
The side wall sections 12 and 14 are adapted to nest telescopically within the side wall section 10 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The upper edge of each section 12 and 14 is provided with an outwardly extending lip 32 which slidably engages the inner surface of the nextlarger section to add stability to the assembly. The lower edge of each of the sections 10 and 12 is provided with an inturned lip 34 which slidably engages the outer surface of the next-smaller section. In the extended position of the module, the lips 32 and 34 engage each other to aid in forming seals between the sections. The lower edge of the lowermost section 14 carries a compressible sealing element 36 adapted to seal with the floor 22 of the room, and the lower edge of the panel 16 carries a similar element 38. As shown, the sealing elements 36 and 38 are flexible plastic tubes.
Preferably the side wall sections 12 and 14 are provided with some form of biasing means for restraining these sections in their retracted position. In the illustrated embodiment, the biasing means includes two torsion-spring devices of the type commonly employed with sliding overhead doors, each device comprising a housing 40 mounted in or on the ceiling 20 and containing a torsion spring drive mechanism. A lift cable 42 adapted to be wound upon a drum within the housing 40 by the drive mechanism is attached to the respective sections 12 or 14. Thespring drive mechanism is adjusted to apply sufficient pull on the cables 42 to lift the sections 12 and 14 to the FIG. 2 position. In order to extend the sections 12 and 14, the operator merely pulls down on the sections 12 and 14 with sufficient force to overcome the force of the spring drives.
In order to retain the sections 12 and 13 in the extended position against the biasing force of the spring drives, a locking means is provided. In the illustrated embodiment, this feature has the form of a brace 44 located within the module and constructed of two straight legs 46 and 48 pivotally connected together at 50 for swinging movement about a horizontal axis. The upper end of the upper leg 46 is pivoted at 52, to a ceiling-mounted bracket and the lower end of the lower leg 44 is pivoted at 54 to a bracket attached to the side wall section 14. In the retracted position of the module, the brace 44 assumes a semi-folded position shown in FIG. 2. In the extended position, the legs 44 and 48 assume a straight-line position and thereby prevent upward movement of the sections 12 and 14.
The module is also provided with one or more speakers 56 for transmitting sound between the interior of the module and the surrounding space. The speakers may be electronic or of the type conventionally employed in box-office windows.
The center side wall section 12 may be constructed of transparent material such as glass or synthetic plastic, or its panels may be provided with windows. The panels 10 and 14 are preferably constructed of or lined with accoustic material. A pull-down electric lamp 58 may also be provided.
It will be appreciated that many modifications of the illustrated embodiment may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An environmental module for at least partially isolatinga portion of a room from the remainder of the room, said module comprising: vertically extendable and retractable side walls adjustable between a com-' pact retracted position and an extended position in which said side walls define a laterally enclosed interior space, the lower edge portions of said side walls forming an opening into said interior space, means for suspending said module above the floor of a room at adistance so that in the compact retracted position of the side walls said module is disposed adjacent to the ceiling, said side walls being extendable downwardly toward the floor to at least partially isolate said interior space from the remainder of the room, said module further including a rotatable side wall section which is a rigid panel hinged at one end for swinging movement about a horizontal axis adjacent to the upper end of said module, said rigid panel having a length substantially equal to the total length of the extended side wall sections so that when said rigid panel is rotated downwardly to engage corresponding edges of said extended side wall sections, said module will thereby laterally enclose an interior space.
2. An environmental module as in claim 1 including a door formed in said panel.
3. An environmental module as in claim 1 wherein said extendable and retractable side walls are formed of a plurality of side wall sections connected in vertical telescoping relationship so as to nest one within another in said compact retracted position.
4. An environmental module as in claim 1 including means for biasing said side walls into a retracted position, and means for locking said side walls in their extended position.
v5. An environmental module as in claim 1 including a compressible seal carried by the lower edges of said side walls for engaging the floor of the room when said side walls are extended downwardly.
6. In combination an environmental module in a room having a ceiling, walls, and a floor, said module including downwardly extendable and upwardly retractable side walls adjustable between a compact retracted position and an extended position in which said side walls define a laterally enclosed interior space, the
lower edge portions of said walls forming a bottom opening into said interior space, depending support means provided for suspending said module in said room in a position so that in the compact retracted position of said side walls said module is disposed adjacent to the ceiling, said side walls being extendable downwardly toward said floor to at least partially isolate said interior space from the remainder of said room, said module further including a rotatable side wall section which is a rigid panel hinged at one end for swinging movement about a horizontal axis adjacent to the upper end of said module, said rigid panel having a length substantially equal to the total length of the extended side wallsections so that when said rigid panel is rotated downwardly to engage corresponding edges of said extended side wall sections, said module will thereby laterally enclose an interior space.
7. An environmental module as in claim 6 including a door formed in said panel.
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