News Column

Patent Issued for Retractable Storage System for Handheld Electronic Device

July 23, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- A patent by the inventor Merenda, John T. (New York, NY), filed on April 29, 2013, was published online on July 8, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8774446 is assigned to Hybrid Skillz Inc. (New York, NY).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to accessory systems for handheld electronic devices, more particularly, the present invention provides a protective carrier system that houses a handheld electronic device and provides retractable earphones, earphone station and storage to the handheld electronic device.

"Handheld electronic devices are becoming more and more popular as consumer goods and are frequently used in performing our daily communication needs. Devices like the iPhone.TM., iPad.TM., iPod.TM., Blackberry.TM., cell phones, mobile video players, KINDLE.TM. eReaders, Android.TM. devices are now intimate parts of daily life. This popularity has created a desire for protective cases well as varieties of choice for aesthetic freshness that enable these devices with a look of consumer-preferred style with modest cost. Additionally these protective cases have become increasingly armored (stronger) to protect against unintended breakage.

"For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,648,027, the entire contents of which are enclosed by reference, describes a protective apparatus to accommodate a portable device, such as a cell phone, with a wire-wrap member attached at the back panel. It does not address the problem of tangled headphone/earbud cable when it is wound in such a manner. The headphone/earbud cable can not only become damaged, but tangles are inadvertently created.

"US Patent Pub. No. 2011/0233078, also incorporated herein by reference, describes a holder design for portable devices that also provides a storage compartment for earphones. It uses a spring loaded type rewinder which can subject the headphone/earbud cable to undue pressure. The spring loaded rewinder can create drastic, uncontrollable speed of the rotating, wheel upon release of the spring loaded mechanism to rewind the cable, thereby damaging and/or shortening the life of the cable. Also of related example are U.S. Published Application No. 2011/0170732 (Parker), U.S. Pat. No. 6,731,956 (Hanna et al.), and U.S. Published Application No. 2010/0279743 (Sim), the contents of all of which are incorporated herein by reference. Each of these devices utilizes a spring loaded mechanism to retract the headphone/earbud cable. These spring loaded device can create drastic, uncontrollable speed of the rotating wheel or spring reel upon release of the spring loaded mechanism to rewind/retract the cable, thereby subjecting the cables to undue pressure, and damaging and/or shortening the life of the cable.

"Accordingly, the claimed invention proceeds upon the desirability of providing a storage system for handheld electronic device that safely retracts and stores items."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Proposed is a novel carrier system with built-in retractable earphone/earbud system that accommodates a variety of earphone styles and is adaptable for a variety of handheld electronic devices are disclosed.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, an easy to put on carrier case, can be made of molded plastic having a wrap-around side walls, a back panel and an open front aperture for a handheld electronic device to slide into. The back panel being of monolithic construction and having an enlarged compartment built at the top area for inclusion with an earbud station. The earbud station provides secure fixed hosting seats for a pair of pullable or ejectable earbuds/earphones to sit into when not being used. Various apertures are configured in the wrap-around side walls to allow direct access to various buttons on the electronic device.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, a pair of bounded regions or chambers with related wire channels for containing earphone/ear bud cables are configured monolithically and directly in the back panel. Earphones/earbuds with their long cables being wrapped into the chambers, and a channel to allow the plug head to be fixedly held at the earbud station for easily plug in to the headphone jack of a handheld device.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, a middle panel, or cassette member, is configured similarly with a pair of chambers and operable wire channels for containing and guiding earphone/earbud cables.

"In accordance exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, one of the chambers is fixedly mounted with an exterior antenna/transmitter IC chip that provides a secondary amplification for a cell phone signal, providing a solution for limited cell phone signal amplification due to space limitation inside a cell phone (such as an iPhone.TM. or an iPad.TM.).

"In accordance an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, a retractable storage system for a handheld electronic device comprises a protective housing member having a back panel and plurality of side walls forming a bounding member operative shaped and sized to bound the handheld device and enable wrapping around the handheld device. An enlarged compartment is configured proximate the back panel, intersecting with a top side wall of the housing member. The top side wall forms an aperture in connecting with the compartment. An accessory station is mounted inside the compartment and forms aperture structure for arresting and dispensing an accessory item of the handheld device. A removable middle panel is removably mounted inside the housing member, in parallel to the back panel, having a top edge neighboring and below the enlarged compartment. One or more storage chambers are structured on the removable middle panel for storing the accessory item, connecting with one or more channels wherein the channels leading to the accessory station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system further comprises at least one earphone cable with a earbud and a plug head, and at least one retractable mechanism which is operably mounted inside one of the storage chamber for automatically retracting a cable for storage. The earbud is removably secured in said accessory station, the cable being removably coiled within a spring-biased spool of said retractable mechanism, and a plug head of said cable being connected to a earphone jack of the handheld device, wherein said earphone is pulled from the accessory station with the cable extending from said storage chamber when in use.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable mechanism comprises a friction based braking system to reduce a rotational speed of the spring-biased spool during the retraction of the cable.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid friction based braking system comprises at least one damping pad to reduce the rotational speed of the spring-biased spool during the retraction of the cable.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a retraction button to control the retractable mechanism to retract the cable.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retraction button is a spring loaded such that the retraction button remains in or returns to a first position unless the retraction button is moved and held at a second position to retract the cable to the storage chamber.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a plug head actuation system for operably removing and connecting the plug head of the cable to the earphone of the handheld device.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises an accessory button to dispense the earbud from accessory station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid accessory button is a spring loaded such that the accessory button remains in or returns to a first position unless the accessory button is moved and held at a second position to dispense the earbud from the accessory station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a pair of earphones, each connected to a separate cable, and two retractable mechanism. Each retractable mechanism is mounted inside its respective storage chamber for automatically retracting is respective cable. Each retractable mechanism is independently controlled such that each cable is independently retractable.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a first and second retraction buttons to independently control the respective retractable mechanism.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, each aforesaid retraction button is a spring loaded such that each retraction button remains in or returns to a first position unless each retraction button is moved and held at a second position to retract the respective cable to the respective storage chamber.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a headphone cable with an audio plug and a headphone plug, and a retractable mechanism which is operably mounted inside a storage chamber for automatically retracting the headphone cable for storage. The headphone plug is removably secured in the accessory station. The headphone cable is removably coiled within a spring-biased spool of the retractable mechanism. The audio plug head is connected to a earphone jack of the handheld device. The headphone plug is pulled from the accessory station with the cable extending from the storage chamber for use with a headphone.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a retraction button to control the retractable mechanism to retract said headphone cable.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a pair of earphones, each connected to a separate magnetized cable. Each magnetized cable is magnetically attracted to each other to form a single cable which can be removably coiled within the same spring-biased spool of the retractable mechanism. The earphone is pulled from the accessory station with the single cable extending from the storage chamber and peelable into two separate cables when in use.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid accessory item is at least one of the following: a lip balm, a lipstick, a cigarette or a cigar. The aforesaid retractable storage system further comprises an accessory button to dispense accessory item from the storage chamber through the accessory station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises at least one battery mounted inside a storage chamber for charging at least an accessory item or the handheld device. The accessory station is a charging station which is electrically connected to the battery to charge the accessory item stored within the charging station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid accessory item is a wireless earbuds or e-cigarettes. The aforesaid retractable storage system further comprises an accessory button to dispense the accessory item from the charging station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid accessory station comprises a station adapter configured with elastic material to adjust the aperture size of the accessory station.

"In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the claimed invention, the aforesaid retractable storage system comprises a plurality of colored LEDs to display a logo, advertisement or aesthetically pleasing patterns on the back panel of the housing member. The handheld electronic device is operably connected to the LEDs to control and change the patterns, logo or advertisement displayed by the LEDs.

"The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention become apparent from the following description read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals designate the same elements."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Merenda, John T.. Retractable Storage System for Handheld Electronic Device. U.S. Patent Number 8774446, filed April 29, 2013, and published online on July 8, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8774446.PN.&OS=PN/8774446RS=PN/8774446

Keywords for this news article include: Advertising, Hybrid Skillz Inc.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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