Wednesday, March 24, 2010

United States Patent 7,642,903
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Kuentz, et al.
January 5, 2010

Trailer tire alert system

Abstract

A tire pressure sensing device for a tow trailer that signals the driver of the tow vehicle subsequent to deflation of at least one tire mounted to the trailer. The tire pressure sensing device further includes a base plate mounted to the axle of the tow trailer releasably secured by a generally u-shaped clamp. A switch is superposed on the base plate. The switch further includes an actuating rod support member and an actuating rod extending in a downward direction. The actuating rod biases the switch to a closed position subsequent to deflation of the tire thereby electrically activating a warning indicator.

Inventors: Kuentz; Charles L. (Helotes, TX), Kuentz; Judith (Helotes, TX)
Appl. No.: 11/501,623
Filed: August 8, 2006
Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application Number Filing Date Patent Number Issue Date
10487116
PCT/EP02/09365 Aug., 2002
Foreign Application Priority Data

Aug 22, 2001 [GB] 0120441.1

Current U.S. Class: 340/442 ; 340/443; 340/444; 340/445
Current International Class: B60C 23/00 (20060101)
Field of Search: 340/442,443,444,445
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

4173011 October 1979 Gibson
6466127 October 2002 Martin

Primary Examiner: Lee; Benjamin C
Assistant Examiner: Nwugo; Ojiako
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, L.P.
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Parent Case Text


This application is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/487,116 filed Apr. 6, 2004 now abandoned, which is a US National 371 phase filing of International Application PCT/EP 02/09365 filed Aug. 21, 2002 which claims priority to Application No. 0120441.1 filed in Great Britain on Aug. 22, 2001.
Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A device for detecting low tire pressure for a tow trailer, comprising: a switch supported on a base plate and positioned proximate at least one tire of the tow trailer, said switch switchable between an open position and a closed position, said switch being a normally open switch; said base plate configured to be mounted adjacent to an axle of the tow trailer; a mounting clamp mounted around the axle to support the base plate; said mounting clamp having two ends; said two ends releasably secured to said base plate; an actuating rod support member mounted to the base plate and pivotally connected to said switch, for supporting an actuating rod that is operable to switch said switch between said open position and said closed position; said actuating rod surroundably mounted to one end of the actuating rod support member and tightened by a strap on a side of the base plate opposite the switch; said actuating rod extending downward to a predetermined point proximate the ground surface under the tow trailer; and a warning device connected to said switch and operable when said switch is in said closed position; wherein when said actuating rod engages the surface under the tow trailer when the tire pressure of the tow trailer drops to a determined level said actuating rod switches said switch to said closed position.

2. The device as recited in claim 1, and further including a mount, said mount configured to securely receive said switch.

3. The device as recited in claim 1, wherein said warming device includes a light.

4. The device as recited in claim 3, and further including a DC power source connected to said switch for supplying power to said warming device.

5. The device as recited in claim 4, wherein said warning device is substantially disposed within a vehicle connectable to the tow trailer.

6. A pressure monitoring and warning device for monitoring the pressure of at least one tire of a tow trailer, said pressure monitoring and warning device comprising: a switch supported on a base plate and mounted proximate the tire of the tow trailer, said switch switchable between on open position and a closed position, said switch being a normally open switch; an actuating rod support member mounted to the base plate and pivotally connected to said switch, said actuating rod operable to switch said switch between said open position and said closed position; a warning device connected to said switch and operable when said switch is in said closed position; an actuating rod surroundably mounted to one end of the actuating rod support member and tightened by a strap on a side of the base plate opposite the switch; said actuating rod extending downward to a predetermined point proximate the ground surface under the tow trailer; and wherein when said actuating rod engages the surface under the tow trailer when the tire pressure of the tow trailer drops to a determined level said actuating rod pivots thereby switching said switch to said closed position.

7. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 6, and further including a mount, said mount configured to securely receive said switch.

8. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 7, wherein said mount includes a base plate, said base plate configured to be mounted adjacent to an axle of the tow trailer.

9. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 8, and further including a clamp, said clamp configured to releasably secure said base plate to said axle.

10. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 6, wherein said warning device includes a light.

11. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 10, and further including a DC power source connected to said switch for supplying power to said warning device.

12. A pressure monitoring and warning device for monitoring the pressure of at least one tire of a tow trailer, said pressure monitoring and warning device comprising: a switch supported on a base plate and mounted proximate the tire of the tow trailer, said switch switchable between an open position and a closed position, said switch being normally open switch; a mount configured to releasably receive said switch; an actuating rod support member mounted to the base plate and connected to said switch, said actuating rod operable to switch said switch between said open position and said closed position; an actuating rod surroundably mounted and generally contiguous with one end of the actuating rod support member by a strap opposite the switch; said actuating rod extending downward to a predetermined point proximate the ground surface under the tow trailer; a warning device connected to said switch and operable when said switch is in said closed position; wherein when said actuating rod engages the surface under the tow trailer when the tire pressure of the tow trailer drops to a determined level said actuating rod switches said switch to said closed position.

13. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 12, wherein said warning device includes at least one LED light.

14. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 13, and further including a DC power source connected to said switch for supplying power to said warning device.

15. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 14, wherein said mount includes a base plate, said base plate configured to be mounted adjacent to an axle of the tow trailer.

16. The pressure monitoring and warning device as recited in claim 15, and further including a clamp, said clamp configured to releasably secure said base plate to said axle.

17. The device as recited in claim 16, wherein at least a portion of said warning device is disposed within a vehicle that is connectable connected to the tow trailer.
Description


FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates a tire pressure indication device, more specifically a trailer tire pressure indicator and alert system that is releasably secured to the axle of a trailer that has a portion which engages with the ground upon the deflation of the adjacent tire.

BACKGROUND

Thousands of drivers tow trailers behind their vehicles every day. From recreational trailers to commercial tractor trailers, towing these trailers can present numerous difficulties for the drivers. Stopping distance is lengthened and handling is cumbersome when a trailer has a heavy load disposed thereon.

One particular challenge with multi-axle trailers is detecting when the tire pressure of the trailer tire has become low so as to present a potential hazard. The rear axle trailer tires are extremely difficult to see even with the proper towing mirrors on the tow vehicle. Vision of these tires is usually blocked by the fender well and the tire adjacently in front. Additionally, these trailers have a plurality of tires which makes it almost impossible for a driver to notice a handling difference when only one tire has become partially deflated. A partially deflated tire rises to a higher temperature than a tire with correct air pressure. This higher temperature increases the risk for a blowout. Low tire pressure can also increase the difficulty in handling the trailer. As these trailers are heavy and can long, this present a significant potential for an accident resulting in damage to the trailer and its contents. Furthermore, trailers in this condition present a safety hazard to other motorists nearby.

Accordingly, there is a need for a trailer tire pressure sensing device that can signal to the driver in the tow vehicle when a tire has become partially deflated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention is to provide a device that is mounted on at least one axle on a trailer that will, upon deflation of at least one proximate tire on the trailer, provide a signal to the driver indicating such deflation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a device that is normally not engaged with the ground when the tires on the trailer are mounted and inflated properly.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a tire deflation sensing device for a trailer being towed by a vehicle that has an electrical circuit that is normally open when the tires are properly inflated and wherein the circuit will be closed when a portion of the tire deflation sensing device contacts the ground.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a tire deflation sensing device for a trailer being towed by a vehicle that uses a resilient rod and tube to contact the ground thereby activating a switch and completing the electrical circuit.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects the present invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Attention is called to the fact that the drawing are illustrative only. Variations are contemplated as being a part of the present invention, limited only by the scope of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following Detailed Description and appended claims when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention mounted to an axle of a trailer with the axle and wheel of the trailer illustrated in dashed lines; and

FIG. 2 is a side view of an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Now referring in particular to the drawings submitted herewith, wherein the various elements are not necessarily drawn to scale and wherein like reference numerals are used for like elements through the figures, there is illustrated a tire deflation signal device 100 constructed according to the principles of the present invention.

The tire deflation signal device 100 comprises a mounting clamp 10 to releasably secure the tire deflation signal device 100 to an axle 5 of a conventional trailer. Those skilled in the art should recognize that the tire deflation signal device 100 could be mounted to numerous different types of trailers. More specifically but not by way of limitation, the tire deflation signal device 100 could be mounted to a boat trailer or travel trailer.

The mounting clamp 10 is secured to the axle 5 proximate to and inside the tire 60 in at least one position on a conventional trailer. It is further contemplated within the scope of the present invention that a tire deflation signal device 100 could be mounted proximate to each tire on a trailer. The mounting clamp 10 is generally a unshaped bolt having two ends 11 that extend downward from the axle 5. Each end 11 of the mounting clamp 10 has conventional threads 13 circumferentially disposed on a portion thereof. Interposed the two ends 11 of the mounting clamp 10 and contiguous therewith is a generally arcuate section 14. The arcuate section 14 is of sufficient radius to correspond with the radius of the trailer axle upon which it is to be mounted.

The mounting clamp 10 is manufactured from a suitable durable material such as but not limited to zinc or steel. Those skilled in the art should recognize that numerous different types of mounting clamps 10 could be utilized to conform or mate with the shape of the axle 5 of the trailer in order to provide a stable connection.

Secured to each end 11 of the mounting clamp 10 is a base plate 15. The base plate 15 is positioned generally adjacent to and underneath the axle 5. The base plate 15 is configured to be attached in a substantially horizontal manner with a portion 16 extending laterally from both sides of the axle 5. The base plate 15 is manufactured from a suitable durable material such as but not limited to galvanized steel. Each end 11 of the mounting clamp 10 extends through a corresponding aperture 17 in the base plate 15 and is releasably secured with a fastener 12. Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous different types of fasteners 12 could be utilized to secured the mounting clamp 10 to the base plate 15. More specifically but not by way of limitation, the fasteners 12 could be conventional nylon insert nuts or wing nuts.

Superposed on the base plate 15 is a switch housing 22. The switch housing 22 is generally rectangular in shape and substantially hollow. The switch housing 22 is manufactured from a suitable durable material such as thermoplastics. The switch housing 22 is water resistant to protect the switch 20 disposed inside. The switch 20 is contained within the switch housing 22 and is manufactured from a conventional self-centering normally open switch. The switch 20 and switch housing 22 are secured to the base plate 15 by conventional mechanical or chemical methods. The switch 20 has an actuating rod support member 45 extending downward through the base plate 15. The actuating rod support member 45 is positioned generally perpendicular to the base plate 15. The actuating rod support member 45 is manufactured from a suitable durable material such as steel. The actuating rod support member 45 is sealably connected to the switch 20 to inhibit water from propagating into the switch housing 22.

The actuating rod support member 45 is pivotally mounted to the switch 20. The actuating rod support member 45 can pivot in either a generally forwards and backwards direction. Surroundably mounted to one end of the actuating rod support member 45 opposite the switch 20 is an actuating rod 30. The actuating rod 30 is surroundably mounted to the actuating rod support member 45 and is generally contiguous therewith. The actuating rod 30 extends downward to a predetermined point so as to be disengaged with the ground 80 when the adjacent tire 60 is properly inflated.

The actuating rod 30 is manufactured from a semi-flexible plastic tube. The actuating rod 30 is secured to the actuating rod support member 45 using a strap 40. Although no particular type of strap 40 is required, good results have been achieved with a strap 40 that is a nylon tie strap. Those skilled in the art should recognize that numerous different type of straps could be used in place of and/or in conjunction with the strap 40 as described herein.

Utilizing a semi-flexible material provides flexible compensation for the vertical component of the force present on the actuating rod 30 subsequent to deflation of the tire 60. The switch 20 is in an open condition when the actuating rod 30 is extending downward and generally perpendicular to the base plate 15. Subsequent to a tire deflation, the actuating rod 30 contacts the ground 80 underneath thereby causing the actuating rod support member 45 to pivot in either a backwards or forwards direction depending on the travel direction of the trailer. Ensuing to pivoting due to contact with the ground 80, the switch 20 is moved to its closed position whereby a circuit is completed which results in a current traveling through the circuit thereby activating the warning light 70 that has been installed where it can be easily observed by the driver of the tow vehicle. Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous different styles of lights could be utilized as a warning light 70. More specifically but not by way of limitation, the warning light 70 could be manufactured from a conventional LED light. It is further contemplated within the scope of the present invention that the warning light 70 could be mounted in a plurality of visible positions. More specifically but not by way of limitation, the warning light could be mounted in the passenger compartment of the tow vehicle or at a position on the trailer that can be easily seen in a tow vehicles rear view mirror.

The switch 20 is in loop with a conventional electrical circuit that is powered by a standard 12 volt car battery. It is further contemplated that the circuit has in line a 20-amp fuse with the circuit further consisting of 14-gauge wire. The wire 50 is conventional insulated wire 50 that can be secured to the trailer frame and extended to connect with the tow vehicle using conventional trailer connections. Although no specific amount of wire 50 is required, good results have been achieved utilizing approximately fifty foot of wire 50. The wire 50 is connected to the switch leads 25 that are superposed the switch housing 22. The switch leads 25 are conventional copper leads that are designated with opposite polarities of positive and negative. It is further contemplated in the scope of the present invention that there could be more than one tire deflation sensing device 100 mounted on the trailer as a part of a single electrical circuit with the tire deflation sensing device 100 being in a series on the electrical circuit. More specifically but not by way of limitation, a conventional tandem axle trailer could have mounted thereon four tire deflation sensing devices 100. Those skilled in the art should recognize that by utilizing a semi-flexible actuating rod 30, the tire deflation signal device 100 could be activated when the trailer is stationary. Utilizing the semi-flexible actuating rod 30 allows the actuating rod 30 to bend when engaged with the ground when the trailer is in a stationary condition. This facilitates the pivoting of the actuating rod support member 45 thereby closing the electrical circuit and activating the warning light 70.

A detailed description of the operation of a preferred embodiment of tire deflation sensing device 100 is as follows. In use, at least one tire deflation sensing device 100 is mounted to an axle 5 of a conventional trailer proximate to a tire 60 that has been inflated to the proper tire pressure. The actuating rod 30 is positioned such that it will be disengaged with the ground when the adjacent tire is in this condition. The warning light 70 is mounted in a desired position and the wires 50 are used to connect the warning light 70 to the switch 20 to form a circuit with the switch 20 being intermediate the circuit and in an open position. The tire deflation signal device 100 is further connected to the 12 volt battery of the tow vehicle. The user can then tow the trailer to its desired location while monitoring the warning light 70. If a tire 60 on the trailer begins to deflate, either while in motion or stationary, the actuating rod 30 will become engaged with the ground.

Subsequent to becoming engaged with the ground, the switch 20 is moved to its closed position, thereby completing the electrical circuit of the tire deflation sensing device 100. Ensuing circuit completion, the warning light 70 will be activated to alert the driver that the trailer tire 60 is below acceptable tire pressure. The driver then remedies the tire pressure issue which will then return the actuating rod 30 to its first position whereby it is generally perpendicular to the base plate and disengaged with the ground 80. In this position, the switch 20 returns to its normally open state and the warning light 70 is deactivated. The driver resumes normal use of the trailer.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. The description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Monday, March 22, 2010

United States Patent 7,677,056
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Panganiban
March 16, 2010

Portable cooling system for a beverage container

Abstract

A portable cooling system for maintaining a beverage container at an internal temperature dissimilar to that of the temperature of its external surroundings comprising of a substantially circular shaped storage compartments with a hingly attached lid. The portable cooling system further includes a flexible temperature sleeve positioned in the interior volume of the storage compartment during use. The temperature sleeve contains a plurality of ribs being configure to have an internal chamber filled with temperature controlling substance.

Inventors: Panganiban; Frank (Bartlett, IL)
Appl. No.: 11/251,234
Filed: October 15, 2005

Current U.S. Class: 62/457.4 ; 62/371
Current International Class: F25D 3/08 (20060101)
Field of Search: 62/371,457.1,457.2,457.3,457.4,457.8,475.3
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

4463664 August 1984 Peace
4830190 May 1989 Inagaki
5042258 August 1991 Sundhar
5283420 February 1994 Montalto
5345784 September 1994 Bazemore et al.
5842353 December 1998 Kuo-Liang
6330808 December 2001 Kouwenberg et al.
6378325 April 2002 Yang
6513661 February 2003 Mogil
6789693 September 2004 Lassiter

Primary Examiner: Jones; Melvin
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, L.P.
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A portable cooling system comprising: a storage compartment having at least one wall and a bottom, said wall and said bottom configured to define an interior volume with an opening for receipt of objects therein; a lid configured to fit over the opening of said storage compartment, said lid for closing the opening of said storage compartment, wherein said lid has a first position in which said lid is mated over said opening of said storage compartment and a second position wherein said lid is removed from said opening of said storage compartment, wherein said lid is secured into said second position with a hook/loop fastener; a temperature controller removably disposed within at least a portion of said storage compartment; an attachment device for releasably securing said lid into said first position, wherein said attachment device is a zipper; and a belt clip mounted to the external surface of said storage compartment, said belt clip for releasably securing said portable cooling system to a belt.

2. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 1, wherein said controller further includes a membrane integrally formed with at least one chamber having an internal volume, said chamber containing material for freezing therein.

3. A portable cooling system for maintaining the temperature of a single beverage container dissimilar to that of its external surroundings comprising: a storage compartment having one insulated wall and an insulated bottom, said wall and said bottom configure to define an interior volume for receipt of a beverage container therein, said all and said bottom further being configured to have an open end; an insulated lid, said lid hingly mounted to said storage compartment proximate to said open end, said lid for closing said open end of said storage compartment; and a removable temperature sleeve for controlling the interior volume of said storage compartment, said sleeve removably interposed between said wall of said storage compartment and said beverage container.

4. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 3, and further including a zipper, said zipper located proximate to said open end of said storage compartment, said zipper for releasably securing said lid to said storage compartment in a first position, wherein said lid closes said open end.

5. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 4, and further comprising an attachment mechanism, said attachment mechanism for securing said lid into a second position, wherein said lid is removed from said open end allowing access to said interior volume of said storage compartment.

6. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 5, wherein said attachment mechanism is a hook/loop fastener.

7. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 6, and further comprising a belt clip centrally mounted to the exterior surface of the storage compartment, said belt clip for allowing said portable cooling system to be releasably secured to a belt.

8. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 7, wherein said temperature sleeve further includes a flexible membrane having a first end and a second end and a plurality of temperature ribs integrally formed therewith, said ribs further being configured with three walls to define an internal chamber, said internal chamber containing a temperature controlling compound therein.

9. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 8, wherein said temperature sleeve further includes a plurality of notches, said notches interposed to said temperature ribs, said notches for allowing said sleeve to be formed into a generally cicular shape by placing said first end and said second end adjacent to each other.

10. the portable cooling system as recited in claim 9, wherein said walls and said lid are constructed to form foam.

11. A portable cooling system for cooling a beverage container and the contents therein, comprising: a storage compartment having one insulated wall and an insulated bottom, said wall and said bottom configured to define an interior volume for receipt of a beverage container thereing, said interior volume substantially lines with a waterproof material, said wal and said bottom further being configured to have an open end, said storage compartment being generally circular in shape; and an insulated lid, said lid having a first position and a second position, said lid hingly mounted to said storage compartment proximate to said open end, said lid for closing said open end of said storage compartment; a removable temperature sleeve for controlling the interior volume of said storage compartment, said sleeve surroundably mounted adjacent said beverage container, said sleeve further being configured with a flexible membrane having a first end and a second end, said sleeve having a plurality of temperature ribs being configured with three walls defining an internal chamber, said internal chamber containing a temperature controlling substance therein; and a belt clip, said belt clip for releasably securing said portable cooling system to a belt, said belt clip mounted to the exterior of said storage compartment.

12. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 11, wherein said temperature sleeve further includes a plurality of notches, said notches interposed to said temperature ribs, said notches for allowing said sleeve to be shaped into a generally circular shape whereby said first end and said second end are adjacently located.

13. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 12, wherein said sleeve is biased against the interior lining by said beverage container.

14. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 13, wherein said wall in one-quarter of an inch in thickness.

15. The portable cooling system as recited in claim 14, and further including an exterior surface substantially disposed on said lid and said storage compartment, and said exterior surface is nylon wherein said exterior surface prevents degradation of the foam wall and further provides a gripping surface for use.
Description


FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates a portable cooling system, more specifically but not by way of limitation, a portable cooling system designed to reduce and then maintain a temperature differential of a beverage can that has been inserted into the system and its external surroundings.

BACKGROUND

Individuals engage in numerous activities where transportation of beverages is desired. During transportation and upon arrival, maintaining a desired temperature for the beverage is normally accomplished by utilizing a conventional cooler.

Transporting conventional coolers when only a single beverage is desired to be transported is not practical as conventional coolers can be large and difficult to transport. For example, many workers transport a meal to be consumed while at work. A typical way of transporting a meal and drink is a plastic or paper bag. Many facilities do not offer refrigerators to store the drinks or access to such devices is inconvenient. As it is usually several hours before the meal and drink are consumed, many consider it desirable to maintain a cool temperature for the beverage. Utilizing a conventional cooler for such an activity is not practical as only one beverage is desired to be transported.

Another problem exists is that conventional coolers require ice to be deposited therein to make and keep the contents cold. As the ice melts, it requires that it be removed from the cooler.

Another example of current devices that are used to transport beverages in small quantities is a conventional thermos. Typically, a desired beverage is poured into the thermos along with ice and the device is then closed for transportation. A problem with this method is that after a period of time the ice melts and dilutes the beverage contained in the conventional thermos. Additionally, the thermos must be cleaned between uses.

Accordingly, there is a need for a portable cooling system that is designed to cool and maintain the lowered temperature of beverages in the original containers, such as but not limited to an aluminum can, that is compact and easily transported, prevents the dilution of the beverage by utilizing an external temperature control sleeve that surrounds the beverage container, and does not need to be cleaned after every use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a portable cooling system for a single beverage container that can isolate and maintain the temperature of the single beverage container from the external ambient temperature and be easily transported by an individual. The portable cooling system has a cooling and insulating device capable of cooling and maintaining a temperature of a single beverage container and the contents therein and thermally isolate the container and contents from its external surroundings. The system includes a removable temperature control sleeve that is positioned interposed an insulation layer and the beverage container.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a portable cooling system for a single beverage container that is compact and lightweight for easy transportation.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a portable cooling system for a single beverage container that has a lid releasably secured thereto in order to completely encase the beverage container thereby maintaining a sanitary environment for the beverage container and providing further internal climate control.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a portable cooling system for a single beverage container that has a device that allows the system to be releasably secured to a belt worn by an individual for ease of transportation.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects the present invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Attention is called to the fact that the drawings are illustrative only. Variations are contemplated as being part of the present invention, limited only by the scope of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following Detailed Description and appended claims when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the temperature control sleeve; and

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention with a beverage container inserted therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, wherein various elements depicted are not necessarily drawn to scale, and in particular FIG. 1 through 3, there is illustrated the components of a preferred embodiment of a portable cooling system constructed according to the principles of the present invention.

The first component of the system is the storage compartment 100. The storage compartment 100 is generally annular in shape and hollow to allow receipt therein of a beverage container 5. The storage compartment 100 has a wall 10 and a bottom 20 configured to define an interior volume of the storage compartment 100 and an opening 25 at the top of the storage compartment. Proximate to the opening 25 is the upper peripheral edge 40. For storage compartment 100, good results have been achieved with measurements designed to accommodate a conventional beverage containers, such as but not limited to twelve ounce aluminum beverage container, or plastic, disposable beverage bottles.

The wall 10 and the bottom 20 are constructed of an insulating material such as but not limited to foam. Although good results have been achieved with a wall 10 that is one-quarter of an inch in thickness, it is understood that the thickness of wall 10 will depend on the type of insulating material used and the desired performance of such.

Although it is illustrated in the preferred embodiment that one wall 10 and a bottom 20 are used to construct the main body 25 of the storage compartment 100, it is contemplated within the scope of the present invention that a plurality of walls configured with a bottom could be used to construct a storage compartment 100 in order to achieve the function suggested herein.

The wall 10 has an exterior surface 35 that is substantially disposed thereon. The exterior surface 35 is constructed of nylon. The exterior surface 35 of nylon prevents. degradation of the foam wall 10 and provides a suitable surface for an individual to grip the storage compartment 100. The exterior surface 35 is mounted to the wall by conventional chemical methods. Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous materials could be used in place of and/or in conjunction with nylon to construct the exterior surface 35 to achieve the desired function suggested herein.

The wall 10 has an interior liner 60 that is substantially disposed about the interior volume of the storage compartment 100. The interior liner 60 serves to provide additional insulation for a beverage container to be disposed therein. The interior liner 60 is constructed of a liquid impermeable material to prevent any condensation from propagating into the foam wall 10. Good results have been achieved in the construct of the interior liner 60 with conventional materials such as the reflective waterproof materials used in standard soft-sided ice chest.

Proximate to the opening 25 and hingly connected to the exterior surface 35 of the wall 10 is the lid 50. The lid 50 is designed to be releasably secured to the main body 25 of the storage compartment 100. The lid 50 is generally annular in shape and integrally formed with a top 65 and an upper wall 55 to form an interior volume and is of a particular diameter to allow the lid 50 to mate securely with the main body 25 of the storage compartment 100. The top 65 and upper wall 55 are constructed of an insulating material such as but not limited to foam. Good results have been achieved with an upper wall 55 that is three-quarters of an inch in thickness, however it is contemplated that the thickness will depend on the type of insulation and desired performance.

Substantially disposed about the exterior of the lid is the exterior surface 35. The lid 50 has a lower peripheral edge 75 that has circumferentially disposed thereon a zipper 80. The zipper 80 is a conventional zipper that consists of two interlocking halves with the opposing half of the zipper 80 mounted along the upper peripheral edge 40. The zipper 80 functions to releasably secure the lid 50 in its first position to the main body 25 thereby encapsulating the beverage container 5 in the storage compartment 100. Once releasably secured with the zipper 80, the beverage container 5 is protected from any debris and is completely surround by insulating material allowing the storage compartment 100 to maintain and isolate the temperature of beverage container 5 and its contents to that the external surroundings.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous different types of attachment mechanisms could be used in place of and/or in conjunction with the zipper 80 to achieve the desired functionality as suggested herein.

One half of an attachment mechanism 90 is positioned opposite the zipper 80 and secured to the exterior surface 35 of the lid 50. The opposing half of the attachment mechanism 90 is secured to the exterior surface 35 of the main body 25 of the storage compartment 100 proximate to and beneath the upper peripheral edge 40. The opposing halves of the attachment mechanism 90 function to releasably secure the lid 50 into its second position, which allows access to the beverage container 5 contained within the storage compartment 100.

The attachment mechanism 90 is constructed of conventional hook/loop fasteners and is secured by suitable chemical or mechanical methods such as but not limited to stitching or chemical adhesion. Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous different materials or devices could be used in place of and/or in conjunction with the hook/loop fasteners to achieve the functionality suggested herein of the attachment mechanism 90. More specifically but not by way of limitation conventional snaps could be used to secure the lid 50 in the lid's 50 second position to the main body 25.

A belt clip 95 is mounted contiguous to the exterior surface 35 of the main body 25 and configured in a generally perpendicular manner. The belt clip 95 functions to allow an individual using the portable cooling system to temporarily fasten the storage compartment 100 to their belt or other location for ease of transportation. The belt clip 95 is made of conventional material such as but not limited to a resilient metal. The belt clip 95 is mounted to the exterior surface 35 of the main body 25 by known chemical or mechanical methods such as but not limited to chemical adhesion or mechanical rivets. Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous different types of materials could be used in place of and/or in conjunction with metal to achieve the functionality as suggested herein of the belt clip 95.

Now referring specifically to FIG. 2, there is illustrated the second component of the portable cooling system, the temperature sleeve 115. The temperature sleeve 115 is comprised of a membrane 130 having a first end 120 and a second end 122. The membrane 130 is configured in a substantially planar manner and is constructed of a flexible liquid impermeable material such as but not limited to plastic. The length of temperature sleeve 115 can be varied depending upon the desired container to be cooled. Good results have been achieved in making the length of temperature sleeve 115 such that the opening of the container of to be cooled can be readily accessible by the consumer. For example, if a soda in a typical can is to be cooled, the desired length of temperature sleeve 115 would be such that a user could easily consume the soda in the container from its opening and not have the temperature sleeve 115 interfere with the consumption of the soda.

Superposed on one side of the membrane 130 is a plurality of temperature ribs 110. The temperature ribs 110 are comprised of three walls 130 that are integrally formed with the membrane 130 to form an internal chamber 135. The internal chamber 135 has substantially disposed therein a suitable liquid or gel that has general properties of slow temperature dissipation and absorption.

Upon changing the temperature of the temperature sleeve 115 by introduction for a sustained period of time into a freezer or other device, the material within the internal chamber 135 will reach or approach the operating temperature of the freezer or device and be able to maintain that temperature for an extended period of time once removed from the freezer or other device and placed into the storage compartment 100. The material disposed within the internal chamber 135 of the temperature ribs 110 not only helps to maintain a temperature the interior volume of the storage compartment 100 but will also cool the temperature of the interior volume and contents there if, when inserted, the contents are at a temperature different than that of the temperature sleeve 115. If for example, a can of soda at room temperature is inserted into the portable cooling system and the temperature sleeve 115 has been substantially chilled in a freezer, temperature sleeve 115 will cool off the contents of the can of soda, and once cooled help maintain the cooled temperature.

The temperature ribs 110 are integrally formed with the membrane 130 and are formed with the membrane 130 to create a plurality of notches 125. The notches 125 allow the temperature sleeve 115 to be configured in circular manner whereby the first end 120 and the second end 122 are adjacent to one another and then placed inside the storage compartment 100 interposed to the beverage container and wall 10. The beverage container 5 biases the temperature sleeve 115 against the interior lining 60. The temperature ribs 110 are adjacent to the beverage container 5 upon placement into the storage compartment 100 as the temperature sleeve 115 encircles the beverage container 5.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that the temperature sleeve 115 could be utilized to maintain a temperature in the storage compartment 100 that is either cooler or warmer than that of its external surroundings. It is contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention that the size of the storage compartment 100 could be manufactured to accommodate numerous different sizes and types of beverage containers. More specifically but not by way of limitation, the storage compartment 100 could be configured to accept therein bottles or larger cans. It is further contemplated within the scope of the invention that the storage compartment 100 could be manufactured in a plurality of colors and patterns.

Referring in particular to the drawings submitted herewith, in particular FIGS. 1 and 2; a description of the operation of the portable cooling system is as follows. In use, a user would place the temperature sleeve 115 in a device such as a freezer for a sufficient time to allow the material in the internal chamber 135 to reach a temperature similar to its environment. Once the temperature has been reached, the temperature sleeve 115 is removed from the device and is configured by the user to a generally circular shape by placing the first end 120 and the second end 122 of the membrane 130 adjacent to each other.

The lid 50 is placed in its second position and secured with the attachment mechanism 90 to allow access to the internal volume of the storage compartment 100. The temperature sleeve 115 is then placed into the storage compartment 100 adjacent to the interior lining 60 with the temperature ribs 110 facing inward. The user then places the desired beverage container 5 in the storage compartment 100 adjacent to the temperature sleeve 115. The user then secures the lid 50 in its first position with the zipper 80. This closes the portable cooling system and increases the efficiency of the system in maintaining a temperature of the internal volume of the storage compartment 100 dissimilar to that of the external environment.

The user may then use the belt clip 95 to aid in transportation of the portable cooling system to the desired location. Once ready to use, the user will release the lid 50 from the storage compartment 100 by releasing the zipper 80 and securing the lid 50 into its second position. The user then consumes the desired amount of beverage contained in the beverage container 5 and returns the lid 50 to its first position. This process is repeated as desired until the beverage is consumed.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. The description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM, WWW.YAHOO.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Friday, March 19, 2010

USPTO to Hold Independent Inventors Roundtable at Alexandria Headquarters
WWW.USPTO.GOV

Event To Be Webcast Live

David Kappos, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark will host a roundtable for independent and small entity inventors on Monday, March 29 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. The event will be held in the Madison Auditorium on the agency’s campus in Alexandria, Virginia. It will also be webcast live on www.uspto.gov. Director Kappos will make opening remarks and then invite questions from the audience and those watching on the web. The roundtable will address current issues of concern to the independent and small entity inventor community including patent reform legislation.

Directions for logging on to the webcast will be posted on the homepage of the agency’s website the day of the roundtable. If you plan to attend in person please RSVP to independentinventor@uspto.gov. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

United States Patent 7,677,575
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Eisenbarth
March 16, 2010

Apparatus for playing a lawn game

Abstract

Golf Gladiator is a lawn game of skill involving balls or other objects connected by a string or rope and a ladder design that has rungs at various distances from the players due to its unique angled design. To play, the ladder assembly is placed a predetermined distance from the players. A player grabs one ball and rope assembly and swings its at the ladder rungs, attempting to get it to wrap around a rung. Each rung has a point value assigned to it. There are three ball and rope assemblies per person or team. Each player or team throws all of his or its ball and rope assemblies and then the next player or team takes his or its turn. A variety of variations on these rules are possible.

Inventors: Eisenbarth; Jerome (Blair, NE)
Appl. No.: 11/724,803
Filed: March 15, 2007

Current U.S. Class: 273/343
Current International Class: A63B 63/00 (20060101)
Field of Search: 273/343,317,348 482/15,16 211/202
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

2445403 July 1948 Mayerman
4596391 June 1986 Carolan, Jr.
6569027 May 2003 Florian
6602146 August 2003 Pirre
6773014 August 2004 Lynch
7004468 February 2006 Johnson et al.
7134661 November 2006 Trecartin
2008/0048397 February 2008 Mancini
2008/0093803 April 2008 Vallee et al.
2008/0224408 September 2008 Eisenbarth

Primary Examiner: Chiu; Raleigh W.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A sporting device comprising: a support that attaches on top to a first rung; a first support member connected at an angle to the first rung on one end and to a second rung on the other end; and a second support member connected at an angle to the second rung on one end and a third rung on the other end; wherein said support connects to a base on bottom; and wherein said base is rectangular and has a first shorter pipe in the front and a second shorter pipe in the back and a first longer pipe on one side and second longer pipe on the other side.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the support is a first upside down V-shaped piping that connects to the first longer pipe and a second upside down V-shaped piping that connects to the second longer pipe.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the first rung connects the top of the first upside down V-shaped piping and the second upside down V-shaped piping.

4. A sporting device comprising: a support that attaches on top to a first rung; a first support member connected at an angle to the first rung on one end and to a second rung on the other end; a second support member connected at an angle to the second rung on one end and a third rung on the other end; and a rope attached to a first ball on one end and a second ball on the opposite end.

5. The device of claim 4 wherein the rope is nylon.

6. The device of claim 4 wherein the rope is one quarter of an inch in diameter.

7. A sporting device comprising: a base that is rectangular and has a first shorter pipe in the front and a second shorter pipe in the back and a first longer pipe on one side and a second longer pipe on the other side; an anchor support made of a first upside down V-shaped piping that connects to the first longer pipe and a second upside down V-shaped piping that connects to the second longer pipe; a first rung that connects the top of the first upside down V-shaped piping and the second upside down V-shaped piping; a first support member and a second support member running parallel that are connected at the bottom at an angle to the first rung; a second rung connecting the top of the first support member and the second support member; a third support member and a fourth support member running parallel that are connected at the bottom at an angle to the second rung and at the top to a third rung; the first shorter pipe, the second shorter pipe, the first longer pipe, the second longer pipe, the first upside down V-shaped piping, the second upside down V-shaped piping, the first rung, the first support member, the second support member, the second rung, the third support member, the fourth support member and the third rung are made of PVC pipe; and a rope that is made of nylon attached to a first ball on one end and a second ball on the other end.

8. The device of claim 7 further comprising a fifth support member and a sixth support member running parallel that are connected at the .bottom at an angle to the third rung and at the top to a fourth rung.
Description


CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This United States Non-Provisional Patent Application does not claim priority to any United States Provisional Patent applications or any foreign patent applications.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to the sporting and game industries. The invention discussed herein is in the general classification of lawn games.

BACKGROUND

Millions of people in the United States enjoy various lawn games at barbeques or other family outings and at parks and beaches. Croquet, horseshoes, tetherball, washers, and badminton are just some of the most common games. Recently, a ladder golf game involving two golf balls tied to opposite ends of a rope and a ladder device has become popular. Players are awarded varying amounts of points by causing the rope to tie around the different ladder rungs when the golf balls are slung at a distance from the ladder device. Multiple players of any age can play this type of game.

Unfortunately, the traditional ladder golf games only utilize a ladder that runs perpendicular to the ground and base, allowing for players to more easily master the game because the rungs are all the same distance from the player.

Hence, there is a need in the art for an inexpensive, durable, easy to use, store, transport, and assemble lawn game of skill involving balls or other objects connected by a string or rope and a ladder design that has rungs at various distances from the players due to its unique angled design.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Golf Gladiator is a lawn game of skill involving balls or other objects connected by a string or rope and a ladder design that has rungs at various distances from the players due to its unique angled design.

The principal object of this invention is to provide a lawn game that has balls or other objects connected by a string or rope and a ladder design that has rungs at various distances from a player due to its unique angled design.

Another object of this invention is to provide an affordable lawn game.

Another object of this invention is to provide a lawn game that is quickly assembled and easy to play.

Another object of this invention is to provide a safe lawn game.

Another object of this invention is to provide a portable lawn game.

Another object of this invention is to provide a lightweight lawn game.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a durable lawn game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a side view of the preferred embodiment of the ladder assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a side view of another preferred embodiment of the ladder assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 3 depicts a front view of the preferred embodiment of the golf ball and rope assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiment of Golf Gladiator is comprised of at least some of the following: an angled ladder assembly with three or four rungs attached to a base and a set of two golf balls attached to rope.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 1, a ladder assembly 1 has a rectangular base 2 having two shorter pipes 3 in the front and the back and two longer pipes 4 on the sides. Upside down V-shaped anchor supports 5 connect to each of the longer pipes 4 of the base 2. A first rung 6 connects the top of the upside down V-shaped supports 5 and attaches to the bottom of support members 7 on each side. The support members 7 are angled at approximately thirty degrees from the perpendicular running to the base 2 through the top of the V-shaped anchor supports 5. A second rung 8 connects the top of the two support members 7. A second set of support members 9 connect to the second rung 8 on the bottom and a third rung 10 at the top. The second set of support members 9 are angled at thirty degrees opposite the angle of the support members 7 such that the third rung 10 is located directly above the first rung 6.

The shorter pipes 3, longer pipes 4, anchor supports 5, support members 7, second set of support members 9, first rung 6, second rung 8 and third rung 10 are ideally made of three-quarter of an inch diameter PVC pipe to minimize costs and increase durability. However, three-quarter of an inch galvanized pipe, aluminum, copper or stainless steel could also be utilized. The diameter of the components could also be altered. Ideally, the ladder assembly 1 would be three feet high, three feet long at the base and two feet wide with the first rung 6 located one foot off of the ground, the second rung 8 located two feet off the ground and the third rung 10 located three feet off the ground.

FIG. 2 shows another version of the preferred embodiment of the ladder assembly of the present invention. A ladder assembly 20 has a rectangular base 21 having two shorter pipes 22 in the front and the back and two longer pipes 23 on the sides. Upside down V-shaped anchor supports 24 connect to each of the longer pipes 23 of the base 21. A first rung 25 connects the top of the upside down V-shaped supports 24 and attaches to the bottom of support members 26 on each side. The support members 26 are angled at approximately thirty degrees from the perpendicular running to the base 21 through the top of the anchor supports 24. A second rung 27 connects the top of the two support members 26. A second set of support members 28 connect to the second rung 27 on the bottom and a third rung 29 at the top. The second set of support members 28 are angled at thirty degrees opposite the angle of the support members 26 such that the third rung 29 is located directly above the first rung 25. A third set of support members 30 connect to the third rung 29 on the bottom and a fourth rung 31 at the top. The third set of support members 30 are angled at thirty degrees opposite the angle of the second set of support members 28 such that the fourth rung 31 is located directly above the second rung 27.

As with the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1, the components of FIG. 2 are ideally made of three-quarter of an inch PVC pipe to minimize costs. However, three-quarter of an inch galvanized pipe, aluminum, copper or stainless steel could also be utilized and the diameter of the components could also be altered. Ideally, the ladder assembly 20 would be four feet high, four feet long at the base and two feet wide with the first rung 25 located one foot off of the ground, the second rung 27 located two feet off the ground, the third rung 29 located three feet off the ground, and the fourth rung 31 located four feet off the ground.

FIG. 3 shows a front view of the preferred embodiment of the golf ball and rope assembly 40 of the present invention. Two golf balls 41 are connected by nylon rope 42. The nylon rope 42 is one quarter of an inch in diameter and one foot in length in the preferred embodiment though a variety of types of rope, string or cord of varying dimensions could be utilized.

To use the preferred embodiment of Golf Gladiator, a player grabs one golf ball and swings the golf ball and rope assembly at the ladder rungs, attempting to get them to wrap around a rung.

The ladder assembly is placed forty feet from the players. There are three golf ball and rope assemblies per team. In the three rung model, the third rung is worth one point, the second rung is worth three points and the first rung is worth two points. In the four rung model, the first rung is worth two points, the second rung is worth three points, the third rung is worth four points and the fourth rung is worth one point. Each player or team throws all of his or its two-ball assemblies and then the next player or team takes his or its turn.

The object of the game is to score twenty-one points first. The winner of each match is determined on the basis of two out of three games. Players must accumulate exactly twenty-one points. Failure to get exactly twenty-one points will result in reduction of points from the points already scored. For example: If the player or team has eighteen points and receives four points on his or their next throw, four points would be deducted from his or their total, resulting in a total of fourteen points.

Obviously, a variety of other ways to play and score the game are possible utilizing the same equipment.

The components of Golf Gladiator may vary but will likely use metal and plastic materials. The metals would ideally be selected from available steel or alloys of steel and aluminum. The production process related to the use of these metals insures that the metal is non-corrosive, durable and strong. The selected metal should have high impact strength and be capable of accepting and retaining coloring materials for an extended length of time.

The plastic used in the production will ideally be selected for durability and longevity. Thermoplastics are commonly used in the manufacturing of components similar to those used in this invention. Polyethylene, polypropylene, and other similar thermoplastic materials would be among those with the necessary traits. Members of this family are recognized universally as being versatile and of high quality.

The plastic components of Golf Gladiator can also be formed with the use of plastic molding techniques, such as injection molding or blow molding. Injection molding requires melted plastic to be forcefully injected into relatively cool molds. As the plastic begins to harden, it takes on the shape of the mold cavity. This technique is ideal for the mass production of products. Alternatively, blow molding, a form of extrusion, could be utilized. Blow molding involves a molten tube being pushed into a mold. Compressed air then forces the molten tube against the cold walls of the mold.

It should be obvious that the components of the present invention can be of various shapes and sizes. It should also be obvious that the components of the invention can be made of different types of metals, plastics or other suitable materials and can be of any color. It should also be obvious that while golf balls and rope are used in the preferred embodiment, a variety of objects connected by string or other similar device could be utilized. Hence, balls or golf balls include any weighted object and rope includes any string or similar object for purposes of this invention. In addition, while a base with an anchor support is the preferred method for stabilizing the ladder assembly and elevating the rungs, a variety of other methods may work and do not require a base. For example, a support could be attached to the bottom of the first rung and then driven into the ground.

It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that changes or modifications may be made to the above-described embodiments without departing from the broad inventive concepts of the invention. It should therefore be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments described herein, but is intended to include all changes and modifications that are within the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth in the claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Monday, March 15, 2010

USPTO and UKIPO Announce Action Plan to Reduce Global Patent Backlogs
WWW.USPTO.GOV

LONDON - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) today agreed to develop an action plan for reducing patent processing backlogs in both offices. Patent backlogs hinder the deployment of innovation and have clear adverse effects on the global economy. According to a study by London Economics released on behalf of the UKIPO, the first study that attempts to quantify the economic impact of patent backlogs, the cost to the global economy of the delay in processing patent applications may be as much as £7.65 ($11.4) billion each year.

Today, David Lammy, UK Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, and David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, committed both the UKIPO and the USPTO to develop a plan to optimize reuse of work on patent applications that are filed jointly at the USPTO and the UKIPO. To this end, the offices will identify all areas of reutilization potential by the end of this calendar year, and shall pursue measures designed to facilitate maximum reuse by building confidence in the work done by each office.

David Lammy said: “If we are serious about economic recovery, then we cannot sit back and watch good ideas go to waste. I want to see an international system that works efficiently to provide innovative businesses with high quality patents in the timescales they need. The UK is working hard to secure our competitive advantage in innovative, high-growth sectors like advanced manufacturing, the life sciences, low-carbon and others. Patents act as a short-term reward to innovators, so that they offset the costs involved in developing their ideas. I welcome the joint working that we have agreed with David Kappos today to tackle this issue head on to reduce unnecessary duplication of work and maintain quality between patent offices.”

David Kappos said: “Every quality patent application that sits on the shelf represents jobs not created. For that reason, the USPTO has made reduction of the patent backlog our highest priority. At the USPTO, we have already undertaken substantial reform of our system for processing patent applications. Work-sharing is an important feature of this reform. Thus far, however, our work-sharing efforts at the USPTO have largely been applicant driven and therefore dependent on whether individual applicants know about, and appreciate, the clear benefits of work-sharing. So I am particularly delighted that we are today embracing with the UK an office-driven mechanism for reutilization of work.”

Today’s agreement commits the USPTO and UKIPO to a follow-on study into the effect of the backlog on competitors and to an ambitious work-sharing collaboration, with the goal of reutilizing each other’s work to the maximum extent possible. This commitment to maximizing the reutilization of work performed by the USPTO and UKIPO will have the advantage that it will be the offices, rather than the applicants, that initiate the priority handling of applications.

In addition to unveiling the USPTO-UKIPO agreement, Minister Lammy released the results of a study prepared for UKIPO by London Economics entitled, Economic Study on Patent Backlogs and a System of Mutual Recognition, which examined the economic impact of delays in processing patents. According to the study, patent processing delays prevent high-tech businesses such as telecommunications, aviation and engineering sectors from getting to market as quickly as they otherwise could. This results in a loss of competitiveness, delays in R&D and an overall reduction in the incentive to create and innovate. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM, WWW.YAHOO.COM, or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

Friday, March 12, 2010

United States Patent 7,490,684
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Seymour, et al.
February 17, 2009

Self-propelled infant stroller

Abstract

An infant stroller that can propel itself under its own power, or in other circumstances provide propulsion assistance to aid the stroller attendant so as to reduce the required effort to push a stroller over various types of terrain. The stroller having a base frame formed of a plurality of connected substantially rigid formed tubular or molded plastic members, the frame adapted to fold for storage. Provided on the frame and interfacing with the ground are a plurality of wheels of which at least one wheel is an electrically driven wheel. The stroller includes two handle arms secured to the rear portion of the frame with a handle grip bar secured to an upper portion of the arms. The handle grip has a battery compartment for receiving a rechargeable battery pack therein. The stroller includes an electrically powered drive means for providing power assist to drive one or more driven wheels over sometimes hilly, grassy or rough terrain. Once discharged, the battery can be removed and replaced with a recharged battery, or on certain embodiments the stroller can also recharge while exposed to direct sunlight. The attendant controls the stroller's electric drive by manipulating a motor control bar located near the stroller handle grip.

Inventors: Seymour; Craig A. (Pittsfield, IL), Seymour; Gretchen (Pittsfield, IL)
Appl. No.: 11/509,262
Filed: August 24, 2006

Current U.S. Class: 180/65.1 ; 280/47.38
Current International Class: B60K 1/04 (20060101)
Field of Search: 280/47.38 180/65.1,65.5,65.6
References Cited [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents

2494489 January 1950 Raucher
4629950 December 1986 Ching
4685688 August 1987 Edwards
5168947 December 1992 Rodenborn
D345720 April 1994 Pohl
5351774 October 1994 Okamoto
5873425 February 1999 Yang
5937961 August 1999 Davidson
6148942 November 2000 Mackert, Sr.
6360836 March 2002 Milano et al.
7004272 February 2006 Brown et al.
7198122 April 2007 Smith

Primary Examiner: Restifo; Jeffrey J
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates, L.P.
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM

Claims


What is claimed is:

1. A self-propelled electrically powered stroller for transporting one or more infants, the stroller comprising: a stroller frame configured to support the weight of an infant, the frame comprising: a base frame comprising a plurality of connected substantially rigid formed elongated members, the base frame adapted to fold for storage; a plurality of wheels wherein at least one wheel is a driven wheel, the wheels rotably secured to the stroller frame, the wheels arranged to stably and rollably support the stroller frame upon ground; a handle assembly comprising: two elongated substantially rigid handle arms, the arms having an upper and an opposing lower end, the arms foldably secured at a lower end to the rear portion of the base frame; and a handle grip bar having a battery receiving compartment with electrical contacts secured therein, the handle grip bar secured along opposing end portions to the upper ends of the elongated handle arms, the handle grip bar configured to be grasped by a human hand for guiding or pushing the stroller; an electrically powered drive means for driving the at least one driven wheel so as to propel the stroller over the ground, the drive means secured to the stroller frame; a rechargeable battery pack for storing and supplying electrical energy to power the drive means, the battery pack removably secured within the battery receiving compartment of the handle grip bar, the battery pack having electrical contacts thereon for electrically engaging with the contacts in the battery compartment; one or more infant seats secured to the base frame so as to ride upon the frame and wheels; a canopy positioned above the infant seats, the canopy secured to the stroller frame, the canopy configured to shelter the infant seat from sun rays and rain; a safety power interrupt device, the safety power interrupt device comprising: a safety switch device secured to the handle grip bar; a safety key removably received into the safety switch, wherein removing the safety key from the switch interrupts electrical power from the battery to the drive means such as to stop the drive means, wherein frictional and rotary inertia of the drive means brakes rolling motion of the stroller; and a lanyard having two ends, one end secured to the safety key, an opposing end having a hook secured thereto, the hook configured to retentively engage onto a stroller operator, the lanyard and safety key cooperating so as to pull the safety key out of the safety switch if stroller gets away from the operator so as to brake the stroller; and a drive motor control means, the drive motor control means comprising: a spring return electrical drive off-on switch for selectably providing or interrupting electrical power from the battery to the drive means; and a motor control bar distally spaced from and substantially parallel to the handle grip bar, the motor control bar positioned and configured to be operable by attendant's fingers, wherein the attendant has a palm of a hand resting on the grip bar and wherein the attendant manipulates the motor control bar with fingers of the hand, the motor control bar connected to the electrical drive switch wherein compressing the motor control bar against the handle grip provides power to the drive means and wherein releasing the hand compression on the motor control bar interrupts the power.

2. The stroller of claim 1, wherein the frame material is selected from the group consisting of tubular aluminum, tubular steel, reinforced plastic; and wherein the wheels comprise rubber treads secured over plastic wheels.

3. The stroller of claim 2, wherein the electrically powered drive means comprises: a wheel drive shaft, the shaft rotably and torsionally connected to the at least one driven wheel; a gear reduction transmission having an input shaft and an output shaft, the output shaft connected to the wheel drive shaft wherein the output shaft transmits rotary motion and torque to the wheel drive shaft, the gear reduction transmission secured to the stroller frame; and an electric drive motor having a drive shaft, the drive motor secured to the gear reduction transmission, the motor drive shaft connect to the input shaft of the transmission, wherein the motor transmits rotary motion and torque to the input shaft.

4. The stroller of claim 3, wherein the transmission further comprises a foot operated means of selectively engaging/disengaging the transmission output shaft from the wheel drive shaft, wherein disengaging the transmission permits the stroller to be manually propelled without electrical power.

5. The stroller of claim 4, wherein the plurality of wheels consists of four wheels, and wherein the base frame comprise a back member secured to two opposing side members, each side of the frame having two wheels located generally at opposing ends of the side member.

6. The stroller of claim 5 further comprising a solar cell assembly secured to a top portion of the canopy, the solar cell assembly providing electrical power to charge the battery pack.

7. The stroller of claim 5 wherein the battery pack is a 24 volt rechargeable storage battery pack, and wherein the motor comprises a 12 to 19 volt electric motor.

8. The stroller of claim 7 wherein the at least one driven wheel comprises one driven rear wheel.

9. The stroller of claim 7, wherein the at least one driven wheel comprises two driven opposing rear wheels, and wherein the wheel drive shaft extends between the two driven wheels, wherein at least one driven wheel further comprise drive teeth disposed on an inner facing perimeter of the wheel, the drive teeth engaging with a ratchet pawl drive connected to an end of the wheel drive shaft, wherein the pawl driven wheel is permitted to rotate faster than non-pawl driven wheel such that the stroller can be easily steered while rolling.

10. The stroller of claim 7 further comprising a 24 volt solar cell assembly secured to a top portion of the canopy, the solar cell assembly electrically connected to the battery terminals in the battery receiving compartment, the solar cell assembly providing electrical power to charge the 24 volt battery pack.
Description


FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to wheeled baby strollers for transporting infants and, more particularly, to self-propelled strollers having an electric drive means to propel the stroller, reducing the required effort to push the stroller particularly over rough ground, through grassy terrain, as well as up hills and inclines.

BACKGROUND

Push type infant strollers are well known. Such strollers comprise a wheeled frame with an infant seat secured thereon. The stroller frame is provided with a raised handle configured to allow a parent, family member or other attendant to manually push the stroller along as they walk. The infant seat is typically provided with a restraint device to prevent the infant or child from accidentally falling out of the seat. Many times the stroller is provided with a canopy to shield the child from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, as well as shield the child from an unexpected downpour. Strollers are often used to convey children who are too young to walk independently. Infants and young children have needed to be carried for as long as parents have needed to go places and such strollers ease the burden of bearing the weight of children on long or even short walks.

The first baby carriages were introduced in England in the 1700's and were designed to be pulled by dogs or Shetland ponies. Today, many varieties of strollers are available from models that permit the child to lie down to those that maintain the child in a substantially upright position. More recent times have seen the introduction of strollers that can be pulled behind bicycles. The vast majority of infant strollers are designed to be propelled by a hand wherein the attendant exerts physical effort to push the stroller carrying the infant over sometimes hilly, rough, or gravel covered terrain. It is to the improvement of such strollers and improving the lot of parents and guardians that this inventive disclosure is directed.

While conventional push type strollers fulfill their original intent, such strollers have one or more drawbacks. One drawback, as discussed above, is that the stroller must be manually pushed by the attendant to propel it from one place to another. When pushing such a stroller on a long walk, even on smooth level pavement, such a task takes its toll and eventually becomes tiring to the person pushing the stroller. The difficulty and required effort to manually push the stroller multiplies when the stroller must be pushed up a hill, along rough or grassy terrain, or when the stroller must be pushed through a patch of gravel or along a gravel path or road. Pushing a stroller for even limited distances in such terrain can be a difficult and strenuous task. Then there are the occasions when an older person and grandparent with health issues or other limitations on physical exertion desires to take the baby out in the stroller for a walk. Difficult terrains as discussed above can place undue physical burdens on elders with health issues and present a serious health risk. Additionally, younger children or people with various physical handicaps are limited in their physical capacity to push a bulky and unwieldy stroller and so would benefit from the use of a powered stroller such as disclosed herein.

Therefore, an infant stroller which is configured to overcome the drawbacks of such push type strollers as discussed above, a stroller which either propels under its own power or provides a propulsion assist so as to reduce the physical effort required to push the stroller over various terrains, such a stroller would be useful, advantageous and novel.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Accordingly, embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein comprise various embodiments of a self-propelled infant stroller that has the capacity to propel itself under its own power, or in other circumstances to provide propulsion assistance to reduce the required effort of the attendant to push the stroller over various types of terrain.

In embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein, a self-propelled electrically powered stroller for transporting one or more infants comprises a stroller frame configured to support the weight of an infant or child. The frame comprises a base frame having a plurality of connected substantially elongated frame members that may consists of metallic tubular or formed plastic. The base frame adapted to fold for storage and therefore to reduce the size of the stroller, thereby making the folded stroller easier to carry and to store, as well as to transport in an automobile. Provided on the frame and interfacing with the ground are a plurality of wheels of which at least one wheel is a driven wheel. The wheels are rotably secured to the stroller frame on axles and are so arranged as to stably and rollably support the stroller frame upon the ground without tipping the stroller. The stroller includes a handle assembly comprising two elongated substantially rigid handle arms secured to the rear portion of the frame. A handle grip bar is secured to an upper portion of the handles and spans between the handle arms. The handle grip bar has a battery receiving compartment with electrical contacts provided therein. The handle grip bar is configured to be grasped by a human hand for guiding or pushing the stroller along, somewhat similar to the conventional manually pushed variety of strollers. The stroller includes an electrically powered drive means configured to drive the driven wheels so as to propel the stroller over the ground. The drive means is secured to the stroller frame. A rechargeable battery pack is provided for storing and supplying electrical energy to power the drive means of the stroller over terrain. The battery pack removably secured within the battery receiving compartment of the handle grip bar. The battery has electrical contacts thereon configured to electrically engage with the contacts in the battery compartment. The battery is designed to be removable for replacement, permitting a discharged battery to be swapped out for recharging while replacing the discharged battery with a charged battery thereby permitting continued use of the self-propelled stroller. As in conventional stroller, one or more infant seats are secured to the base frame so as to ride upon the frame and wheels. A canopy is positioned above the infant seats and secured to the stroller frame. The canopy is configured to shade the infant seat from sun rays and rain during walks with the stroller outside. The stroller includes a safety power interrupt device comprising: a safety switch and a mating safety key which is removably insertable into the switch. The key must be inserted into the switch to permit electrical power to flow from the battery to the electric drive means. When the key is removed the flow of electrical power from the battery to the drive motor is interrupted and the stroller comes to a stop. The drive means incorporates a gear reduction unit that functions to transform the shaft revolution speed at the motor to a lower speed of revolution at the wheels and in so doing the transmission increases the limited torque present at the motor shaft to a higher torque value so as to drive the stroller driven wheel or wheels. The gear reduction means, together with the inertia of the drive motor and friction of the gear train are able to bring the stroller to a stop when the power is removed, such as when the safety key is removed from the switch. A lanyard is permanently attached at one end to the safety key while the other end of the lanyard has a hook or other means of attaching the lanyard to an attendant or the clothing of an attendant. The hook configured for attaching the lanyard to or around a stroller attendant, for example to the belt or belt loop on the attendant's clothing, or to wrap the lanyard around the waist of the person and secure the loop closed with the hook. These are illustrative only. Other means of attaching the safety lanyard to the stroller attendant can be utilized without deviating from the intent of the inventive disclosures herein. The lanyard and safety switch work together such that if the stroller gets away from the attendant, then the lanyard pulls the safety key out of the safety switch on the stroller grip handle, thereby removing power from the stroller drive means and the stroller comes to a stop as discussed above. The safety switch is a safety device and not used to control the drive means in normal use. To control the power to the drive motor the stroller has an electric drive motor control bar for selectably providing or interrupting electrical power from the battery to the drive means. The motor control bar is conveniently placed in a distally spaced from and substantially parallel relationship to the handle grip bar so that the motor control bar may be grasped together with the handle grip bar in one hand. The motor control bar configured to be compressed against the grip bar by a human hand when the attendant wishes the stroller to be propelled by the drive means. The motor control bar is connected to an electrical drive switch wherein compressing the motor control bar against the handle grip provides power to the drive means and wherein releasing the hand compression on the motor control bar interrupts the power to the drive means.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the self-propelled stroller frame comprises tubular aluminum, tubular steel, or reinforced plastic, or some combination of those, and the wheels comprise molded plastic wheel having a rubber tread or tire secured to the periphery thereof.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the electrically powered drive means comprises a wheel drive shaft, the shaft rotably and torsionally connect to at least one driven wheel. The drive means has a gear reduction transmission having an output shaft connected to the wheel drive shaft wherein the output shaft transmits rotary motion and torque to the wheel drive shaft. The gear reduction transmission is secured onto the stroller frame. The drive means includes an electric drive motor secured to the gear reduction transmission. The motor drive shaft is connected to the input shaft of the transmission such that the motor transmits rotary motion and torque through the transmission to the driven wheels of the stroller so as to propel the stroller.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the stroller transmission further comprises a foot operated means of selectively engaging or disengaging the transmission output shaft from the wheel drive shaft, wherein disengaging the transmission permits the stroller to be manually propelled without electrical power.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the plurality of wheels consists of four wheels, and the base frame has a back member secured to two opposing side members. Each side member of the frame has two wheels located generally at opposing ends of the side member.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the stroller battery pack is a 24 volt rechargable battery pack, and the electric drive motor comprises a 12 to 19 volt rated electric motor.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the stroller has one driven wheel, a rear driven wheel, where the other wheels are free rolling and undriven.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the stroller has two driven wheels, both are rear driven wheels, where the other wheels are free rolling and undriven.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the stroller further comprising a solar cell assembly secured to a top portion of the canopy over the infant seat. The solar cell assembly generates electrical power from solar energy to charge the battery pack of the stroller.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures herein, the stroller solar cell assembly is a 24 volt solar cell assembly secured to a top portion of the canopy and the solar cell assembly provides electrical power to charge the 24 volt battery pack.

It is an objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide an infant stroller which either propels under its own power or provides a propulsion assist to the person guiding the stroller so as to reduce the physical effort required to roll the stroller along various terrain, particularly up hills, through rough or grassy terrain, or through gravel or sand.

It is an objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide an infant stroller that provides a safety shut off switch to remove power from the stroller drive means when the stroller gets away from the attendant guiding the stroller.

It is an objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide an infant stroller using a storage battery to provide electrical power and wherein one means of recharging the battery is to place the stroller outside in the sunlight. The solar charging panels reduce the dependence upon energy from burning fossil fuels to power the stroller thereby making the stroller more environmentally friendly.

It is an objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide an infant stroller that uses a drive means that can be controlled by compressing the motor control bar against the handle grip, and stops automatically when the motor control bar is released, and where the handle grip and motor control bar can be grasped by one hand.

It is an objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide an infant stroller utilizing a removable rechargeable battery pack placed into the handle of the stroller. Wherein a discharged battery pack can be removed from the stroller and replaced with a charged battery pack so that the stroller can continue to operate without stopping for an extended period to recharge the battery.

These and other objects of the invention made herein will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings show a form of the invention that is presently preferred; however, the invention is not limited to the precise arrangement shown in the drawings.

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of one embodiment of an infant stroller in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein.

FIG. 2 depicts a rear view of one embodiment of an infant stroller in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In preparation for explaining the details of the present inventive disclosure, it is to be understood by the reader that the invention is not limited to the presented details of the construction, materials and embodiments as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, as the invention concepts are clearly capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and realized in various ways by applying the disclosure presented herein.

Turning now to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2:

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of one exemplary embodiment of an infant stroller in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein. FIG. 2 depicts a rear view of the exemplary embodiment of an infant stroller in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein. A self-propelled electrically powered stroller 1 for transporting one or more infants comprises a stroller frame configured to support the weight of an infant, the stroller frame comprising a base frame 2 comprising a plurality of connected substantially rigid formed tubular members wherein the base frame is adapted by a locking hinge 23 to fold for storage. A plurality of wheels 3 are rotably secured to the stroller frame on axles such that the wheels are free to roll, the wheels are so arranged so as to stabily and rollably support the stroller frame upon ground. The stroller frame includes a handle assembly comprising: two elongated substantially rigid handle arms 4, the arms 4 having an upper end 5 and an opposing lower end 6. The arms are foldably secured at a lower end 6 to the rear portion 7 of the base frame. A handle grip bar 8 is secured along opposing end portions to the upper ends of the elongated handle arms 4, the handle grip 8 configured to be grasped by a human hand for guiding or pushing the stroller. The handle grip bar 8 has a battery receiving compartment 10 with electrical contacts therein for receiving a rechargeable battery 9 pack into the grip bar. The battery pack fits into the grip bar so as to form a smooth continuous grip bar.

An electrically powered drive means 11 is secured to the stroller frame. The drive means is configured to drive the driven wheels so as to propel the stroller over the ground, either totally self-propelled, or to provide a propulsion assist such as to make the stroller easier for an attendant to propel over rough or hilly terrain. Removably secured within the grip bar is a rechargeable battery pack 9 for storing and supplying electrical energy to power the drive means 11, the battery pack having electrical contacts thereon for electrically engaging with the contacts in the battery compartment 10 such as to enable electrical current to flow between the battery and the stroller electrical components. One infant seat 12 is secured to the base frame 2 so as to ride upon the frame and wheels. In many cases the stroller requires only a single infant seat, but in other cases strollers configured to transport twins or even triplets are envisioned, and these larger strollers particularly benefit from the propulsion assisted electric drive of the present inventive disclosure. A canopy 14 is positioned above the infant seat 12. The canopy 14 is secured to the stroller frame to shade the infant seat and the occupant from the direct ultraviolet rays of the sun. As an added safety feature, a safety power interrupt device is provided. The safety power interrupt device comprises a safety switch device 15 secured to the handle grip bar. A safety key 16 is removably received into the safety switch 15, wherein removing the safety key 16 from the switch interrupts electrical power from the battery to the drive means such as to stop the drive means. When the power is removed the frictional and rotary inertia of the drive means brakes the rolling motion of the stroller, bringing the stroller to a complete stop. A lanyard 17 has one end secured to the safety key and an opposing end secured to a hook or clasp 18. The hook 18 is configured to attach to or around a stroller operator. The lanyard 17 and safety key 16 cooperate such as to pull the safety key 16 out of the safety switch 15 if stroller manages to get away from the operator, thereby removing the power and bringing the stroller to a stop. A drive motor control means is provided. The drive motor control means having a spring return electrical drive off-on switch for selectably providing or interrupting electrical power from the battery to the drive means. A motor control bar 19 is distally spaced from and substantially parallel to the handle grip bar 8. The motor control bar 19 is configured to be compressible against the grip bar 8 by the palm and fingers of a human hand. The motor control bar connected to the electrical drive switch wherein compressing the motor control bar against the handle grip provides power to the drive means and wherein releasing the hand compression on the motor control bar interrupts the power. The motor control bar being of the spring return type such that when the hand grip is released from the motor control bar then the power to the drive means is interrupted and the stroller comes to a stop. The drive means in FIG. 1 comprises a gear reduction transmission 20 having an output shaft transmitting rotary motion and torque to the driven wheel 22. An electric drive motor 21 has its motor drive shaft connected to the input shaft of the transmission 20 such that the motor transmits rotary motion and torque through the transmission 20 and to the drive wheel 22. The base frame includes two locking folding means 23, the locking folding means permitting the frame to fold so as to reduce the size of the stroller for transport or storage.

The frame of the stroller depicted in FIG. 1 and FIG.2 comprises tubular aluminum or molded reinforced plastic, and the wheels comprise rubber treads or tires over molded plastic wheel rims or wheel base structures. The invention is not limited to the materials disclosed herein. Other materials may be used as would be known to one skilled in the art without deviating from the scope and intent of the inventive disclosures herein. The transmission further comprises a foot operated means of selectively engaging or disengaging 24 the transmission output shaft from the wheel drive shaft. The foot operated disengaging means permits the stroller to be manually propelled without electrical power when the power assist is not required. Disengaging the transmission from the wheels also makes the stroller free rolling, and therefore better suited to being manually pushed when that is desired.

In the preferred embodiment the rechargeable battery pack is a 24 volt rechargeable storage battery pack, and the drive motor is rated between 12 to 19 volts.

Certain embodiments of the self-propelled stroller include a solar cell array 25 secured to the top sun facing portion of the canopy as shown in FIG. 1. The solar cell array is electrically connected through the wiring of the stroller to the rechargeable battery pack. On sunny days the solar cell array provides electrical power to charge the 24 volt battery pack. The battery pack may also be charged by placing the battery into a battery charger and plugging the charger into a conventional electrical outlet. Use of the solar array for charging makes the stroller more environmentally friendly by reducing the burning of fossil fuels at utility power stations so as to charge the battery pack.

The discussed construction, illustrations and sequence of operation is for one embodiment of the invention but is in no way limiting to other embodiments. The operating modes may be changed and enhanced without deviating from the intention of this inventive disclosure.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments and certain variants thereof have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, material, and mechanical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.