MOTOR VEHICLE INTEGRATED CARRIER RACK AND STORAGE SYSTEM
1. A unified carrier rack and storage system for a vehicle comprising:
- a receiver unit installed in the rear of the vehicle;
a transitional carrier bar, having distal and proximal ends, wherein the proximal end is operable to engage the receiver unit and provide immobilization for cargo; and
a cargo carrier bar operable to engage transitional carrier bar near the distal end of transitional carrier bar, wherein cargo carrier bar is further operable to engage and immobilize cargo.
An integrated carrier rack and storage system for vehicles is provided. Generally, the system includes a receiving unit, installed in a motor vehicle that receives a carrier bar device. The system further includes an immobilizing system attached carrier bar and various attachment units which facilitate in transportation and storage. The integrated carrier rack and storage system is user friendly and may be applied to any motor vehicle to carry an assortment of items and store them using the same system.
- 1. A unified carrier rack and storage system for a vehicle comprising:
a receiver unit installed in the rear of the vehicle; a transitional carrier bar, having distal and proximal ends, wherein the proximal end is operable to engage the receiver unit and provide immobilization for cargo; and a cargo carrier bar operable to engage transitional carrier bar near the distal end of transitional carrier bar, wherein cargo carrier bar is further operable to engage and immobilize cargo.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- 7. A method of using a unified carrier rack and storage system to secure cargo comprising:
providing a receiver unit installed in the rear of the vehicle; providing a transitional carrier bar, having distal and proximal ends, wherein the proximal end is operable to engage the receiver unit and provide immobilization for cargo; and providing a carrier bar operable to engage transitional carrier bar near the distal end of transitional carrier bar, wherein carrier bar is further operable to engage and immobilize cargo.
- View Dependent Claims (8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
- 13. A unified carrier rack and storage device for a vehicle comprising:
a receiver unit installed in the rear of the vehicle; a carrier bar operable to engage transitional carrier bar near the distal end of transitional carrier bar, wherein carrier bar is further operable to engage and immobilize cargo.
- View Dependent Claims (14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/617,770, filed Jun. 8, 2017, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/045,142 filed Feb. 16, 2016, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,713,989, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/214,407 filed Mar. 14, 2014, now U.S. Pat. No. 9,290,132, which claims priority pursuant to U.S.C. § 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/803,101 filed Mar. 18, 2013 and to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/801,951 filed Mar. 15, 2013, the disclosures of each of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties.
The subject matter described herein relates generally to carrier rack and storage systems for motor vehicles, and more particularly to carrier rack systems that are integrated into a motor vehicle—carrier rack and storage systems that are designed to carry and store items such as bicycles, skis, snowboards, surfboards, wave boards, wheelchairs, scooters, luggage, fishing gear, accessories, and others.
Present carrier rack systems for motor vehicles, such as cars, trucks, vans, minivans, sports utility vehicles (SUV'"'"'s), and motor homes, generally involve a system of multiple straps attached onto the vehicle, a system attached to a universal hitch, a system attached to a roof, or a system attached to a bumper. These systems are cumbersome, heavy, and difficult to store at home or in the vehicle when the systems are not in use. Additionally, these systems may not be adaptable to all types of vehicles, and when some of these systems are attached, they often make it difficult to access the trunk or doors. These systems are susceptible to theft and may scratch and damage the vehicle when attached and used.
In the case of systems involving multiple straps, these systems are complicated to attach onto the vehicle and may loosen with use over time. In the case of systems attached to the roof, these systems create wind resistance when the car is moving and are difficult to access. For carrier systems that are attached to bumpers, these systems damage the sensitive bumper mechanism and have limited supportability. For trailer hitch systems, the systems are heavy and difficult to attach, detach, and store.
Additionally, organization and storage space are important for people from all walks of life. Improved organization and storage save time when preparing for activities. It saves space in a home garage, basement, storage garage or shed, closet, office, home, room or any other place things are stored. It may also help prevent injuries which can occur from tripping, falling, dropping, knocking over unstable items, or other accidental or unintentional actions. Likewise, it may save money because when items fall, they may be individually harmed in the form of dents, breaks, chips or other damage or may dent, break, chip, or damage items which they collide with such as motor vehicles.
Accordingly, an improved carrier rack and storage system for motor vehicles would be desirable.
The present invention is directed to carrier rack and storage systems for motor vehicles, and more particularly to carrier rack and storage systems that are integrated into motor vehicles at the time of vehicle manufacture or after production (retrofitting).
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a carrier rack system is integrated into a portion of a motor vehicle with a rear wall, such as a tailgate of a pickup truck, a trunk lid of a car, a rear license plate wall, or a rear door of a minivan or sports utility vehicle, having an inside and outside. The system generally includes a receiving unit, having rear and forward ends, integrated into the rear wall, an immobilizing system attached to the receiving unit, and/or a carrier bar attached to the receiving unit. The receiving unit may be positioned such that the rear end is directed toward the back of the vehicle and forms an engaging structure in the rear wall that can be aesthetically hidden from view with a cover or cap.
The carrier bar can generally be universal, meaning it can be attached to any vehicle with a receiving unit and can have any attachments placed on the carrier bar to carry a variety of items. The carrier bar is generally lightweight, easily stored in the vehicle when not in use, and easily attachable to the receiving unit when use is desired. When in use, the carrier bar will not damage the paint on the vehicle. Also, supportability is improved with the carrier because it can be positioned at an optimum level on the vehicle, providing ample distance from the ground when an item or storage pod is attached to the carrier bar and providing less stress to a person'"'"'s back when the person is loading the item or storage pod onto the carrier bar. The invention is advantageous in that it provides a lightweight and easy to use carrier rack and storage system that can be integrated into motor or other vehicles. The invention is further advantageous in that it will not damage or scratch the vehicle. The invention is yet further advantageous in that it provides a simplistic storage system in which all items for a particular activity are kept together and may be easily taken along when going to an activity and stored when returning from the activity.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the receiving unit described above is integrated into a portion of a vehicle having a side wall, such as a side of a truck bed, a side door, a side of a trunk lid, or other side panel of a vehicle. Interior walls are also contemplated.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the receiving unit described above is integrated into a portion of a motor vehicle having a front end, such as a front end of a bus, motor home, van, truck, SUV, or minivan.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention a storage system is provided which allows a user to easily transport and store items associated with a particular activity in a convenient compartment or compartmentalized pod. This provides simplicity in storing commonly used items for one activity, ease of transport, and ease of storage in any location necessary including in the home, office, garage, basement, closet, on a wall, or in or on virtually any other location desired.
Other systems, devices, methods, features and advantages of the subject matter described herein will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, devices, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the subject matter described herein and be protected by the accompanying claims. In no way should the features of the example embodiments be construed as limiting the appended claims, absent express recitation of those features in the claims.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,752,302 by Anton et al., patented Jun. 22, 2004, is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The details of the subject matter set forth herein, both as to its structure and operation, may be apparent by study of the accompanying figures, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the subject matter. Moreover, all illustrations are intended to convey concepts, where relative sizes, shapes and other detailed attributes may be illustrated schematically rather than literally or precisely.
Before the present subject matter is described in detail, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to the particular embodiments described, as such may, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only, and is not intended to be limiting, since the scope of the present disclosure will be limited only by the appended claims.
As used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a”, “an”, and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
The publications discussed herein are provided solely for their disclosure prior to the filing date of the present application. Nothing herein is to be construed as an admission that the present disclosure is not entitled to antedate such publication by virtue of prior disclosure. Further, the dates of publication provided may be different from the actual publication dates which may need to be independently confirmed.
It should be noted that all features, elements, components, functions, and steps described with respect to any embodiment provided herein are intended to be freely combinable and substitutable with those from any other embodiment. If a certain feature, element, component, function, or step is described with respect to only one embodiment, then it should be understood that that feature, element, component, function, or step can be used with every other embodiment described herein unless explicitly stated otherwise. This paragraph therefore serves as antecedent basis and written support for the introduction of claims, at any time, that combine features, elements, components, functions, and steps from different embodiments, or that substitute features, elements, components, functions, and steps from one embodiment with those of another, even if the following description does not explicitly state, in a particular instance, that such combinations or substitutions are possible. It is explicitly acknowledged that express recitation of every possible combination and substitution is overly burdensome, especially given that the permissibility of each and every such combination and substitution will be readily recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art.
Dis-assembled carrier bar device 100 shows two cradle device 500'"'"'s in design specific bar 104. Distal end 102 of dis-assembled carrier bar device 100 is shown at the opposite end of the figure from proximal end 106 of the dis-assembled carrier bar device 100. Tbar2 110 inserts into design specific bar 104 and in some embodiments, attachment is secured by push button release device 700.
In the example embodiment proximal end 106 of transitional carrier bar device 200 is attached to receiver 1300 at a height which allows for specific cargo carrying with optimal ground clearance. Alternatively, transitional carrier bar device 200 may attach to traditional vehicle hitch systems.
Transitional carrier bar device 200 in some embodiments is a single bar. In alternative embodiments, such as the one portrayed, transitional carrier bar device 200 is expandable and collapsible by telescoping, folding, or other means. Expansion of transitional carrier bar device 200 is provided for adequate height allowance for cargo specific requirements, such as golf bags which are typically tall and may require a higher carrying point in order to provide adequate ground clearance during transportation. In collapsed form, transitional carrier bar device 200 is capable of storage within the vehicle trunk, rear or other convenient location in the vehicle. Transitional carrier bar device 200 may in some embodiments have movable parts and the movable parts may be tethered to one or multiple other movable or stationary parts in operation and/or in storage.
Transitional carrier bar device 200 has a hollow interior in the example embodiment however it may also have a solid or semi-solid interior. The interior region may also be reinforced with struts, T-beams, I-beams or other reinforcing members. These structures generally provide additional structural support for the device and may be application specific depending on the cargo to be supported by the device. The cross section of transitional carrier bar device may be square, oval, circular, polyhedron, or other shapes and may have modified edges, corners, angles, or semi-circular dimensions.
Transitional carrier bar device 200 in the example embodiment integrates cradle 500 by a temporary attachment. As such, cradle 500 is detachable from transitional carrier bar device 200 as required by the user. Temporary attachment is generally easily detached and may involve only a single or a few simple steps for detachment. Alternatively, cradle 500 may be permanently or semi-permanently affixed transitional carrier bar device 200. Examples of permanent affixation include welding or fusing. Permanent affixation may occur during initial manufacturing in creating a single device. Examples of semi-permanent affixation may include multi-step processes for detachment of transitional carrier bar device 200 and cradle 500.
In the example embodiment transitional carrier bar device 200 has three portions, Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and design specific bar 104. As previously described, transitional carrier bar device 200 has telescoping features in the example embodiment. Other embodiments exist in which transitional carrier bar device 200 has folding or other collapsing features. In some embodiments transitional carrier bar device 200 is a single bar.
In the example embodiment Tbar1 112 is the proximal end 106 of transitional carrier bar device 200 and inserts into receiver 1300 to form a connection. The connection is formed by insertion of spring-loaded metal latch 1307 into latch-hole 108. Distal end of Tbar1 112 allows for telescoping of Tbar2 110 in a first configuration and in a second configuration provides support for locking Tbar2 110 into a carrying configuration. Carrying configuration in some embodiments is cargo specific and as such one or more carrying configurations may be possible.
In some embodiments rather than members or sections such as Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110 and design specific bar 104 attaching as shown in the drawings, there may be additional parts that allow for stair-stepping combinations of the above members or sections as necessary to elongate transitional carrier bar device 100 to carry more cargo or storage pods.
Distal end of Tbar2 110 allows for telescoping of design specific bar 104 in a first configuration and in a second configuration provides support for locking design specific bar 104 into a carrying configuration. Carrying configuration is cargo specific and as such one or more carrying configurations are possible. Design specific bar 104 has one or more connection points which provide positions to lock cradle 500 into place. As previously mentioned, other configurations are contemplated which may not require telescoping and may have Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and design specific bar 104 in alternative configurations such as Design specific bar 104 being perpendicular to Tbar2 110 or others. Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and Design specific bar 104 in the example embodiment can telescope within one another and into receiver 1300 in the rear of vehicle.
Telescoping features as described above provide for Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and design specific bar 104 to be collapsed into a smaller structure. Other words exist which may describe telescoping including nesting. In the example embodiment, Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and design specific bar 104 are of such dimensions that one slides into another and the combination slides into the third. Generally, this means that Tbar1 112 slides into Tbar2 110 and then then combination of Tbar1 112 and Tbar2 110 slides into design specific bar 104. Other configurations exist in which Tbar1 112 may slide over Tbar2 110 and then Tbar2 110 may slide over design specific bar 104. Alternatively, combinations of each configuration exist.
Various engagement or connection means also exist, which provide locking structures so that transitional carrier bar device 200 is locked into a desired configuration such as collapsed or fully expanded for supporting cargo. These may include pins, buttons, clasps, bars, pegs, or others with associated holes, grooves, slots, or others. Additional structures may also be used to control the engagement/disengagement or connection/release of the elements including buttons, locks, keys, levers, or others. In some embodiments more than one structure may be used.
Dimensions of Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and design specific bar 104 are contemplated that provide support to one or multiple types and/or shapes of cargo. In some embodiments the dimensions of one or more of Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and/or design specific bar 104 may be shorter or longer and/or wider or thinner and in the embodiments the connection or engagement between portions of transitional carrier bar device 200 are compatible with each other.
In the example embodiment, cradle 500 is attached to design specific bar 104 of transitional carrier bar device 200. Cradle 500 may be attached to the distal end 102 of transitional carrier bar 200 in some embodiments. In other embodiments, cradle 500 may be attached above or below transitional carrier bar 200. Cradle 500 may be attached so that the lengthwise orientation of transitional carrier bar device 200 is perpendicular to the lengthwise orientation of transitional carrier bar device 200. Other embodiments exist with multiple cargo specific carrier bars 1250 in addition to cradle 500 are attached to each other and/or transitional carrier bar device 200 at various appropriate configurations such as triangular, square, other polygons, and others. Some embodiments exist in which there may be more Tbar segments or fewer, as required for the specific type of cargo.
In some embodiments Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110 and design specific bar 104 have cam-locking rods extending through their walls and engaging with corresponding structures in the associated interior wall area of the adjoining segment. There are also corresponding slits, grooves, and other receiving structures which are used for engaging segments in some embodiments. Deeper holes may engage pins to lock segments in place in relation to other segments which in some embodiments are at ninety-degree angles. Levers may pull the pins out to disengage in some embodiments.
In some embodiments design specific bar 104 is shorter than Tbar2 110 and/or Tbar1 112 and has a male structure on its distal end which may insert into a female structure on the proximal end of other carrier bars which may be specifically designed for a single type or class of cargo.
Push button release device 700 (further described below in this application) to allow for interlocking of the pieces Tbar1 112, Tbar2 110, and design specific carrier bar 104. Alternatively, other structures may be used to secure the connection between the pieces including locks, pins, latches, or others.
In some embodiments, plastic, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Polyoxymethylene or other materials are used to aid sliding and snugness properties during telescoping and/or in locked positions between parts of transitional carrier bar device 200.
In some embodiments in which distal end 102 of transitional carrier bar 200 is the terminus of all structures attached to the vehicle, a signaling device is attached at distal end 102 of transitional carrier bar device 200. Alternatively, in embodiments in which cradle 500 is the terminus of all structures attached to the vehicle, a signaling device is attached at distal end of cradle 500. This may include a passive red reflector and/or an active or illuminated red light reflector or other color as required by traffic laws. In the active or illuminated red light reflector embodiments, the red-light reflector is hard wired or alternatively wirelessly turned on and off. Additionally, an attachment for a real or digital license plate is provided in some embodiments.
In some embodiments external support for transitional carrier bar device 200 is required and may be done so with external support rods which extend to the rear panel. These external support rods may have engaging mechanisms in some embodiments and in other embodiments external support rods may not have engaging mechanisms.
Engagement tracks 309 may have chamfered edges to provide for ease of use. Engagement tracks 309 may be in appropriate configurations but generally engage members on the interior or exterior of adjoining members in order to secure Tbar2 110 to Tbar1 112 and design specific bar 104s.
Angled end piece 311 may be attached in some embodiments to the end of bar members of transitional carrier bar device in order to provide angled configurations for transitional carrier bar devices. Square engagement piece 313 fits snugly into square engagement piece hole 315 (as shown in the next figure) in order to maintain a locked configuration.
In the example embodiment square engagement piece hole 315 is provided in Tbar1 112 in order to provide a location to secure square engagement piece 313s as shown in the previous figure.
Cradle securing peg 501 in the example embodiment has top hole 323 that may be operable to receive cargo securing peg attached to a particular piece of cargo or carrying bar that fits into cradle 500s. In an example embodiment cargo securing peg 501 may fit into cargo peg receiving area 1010 (as shown in
Angled end piece 311 of Tbar2 110 is shown in addition to engagement tracks 309.
Turning now to
In many embodiments lower support part 1340s are “V” shaped which helps stabilization of supported cargo bars.
Dten units, metal phlanges, sliding metal retaining pins, or others are used to secure cradle in the rotated ninety degrees position described above.
In other embodiments, cradle 500 may be telescopically collapsible into design specific bar 104 or transitional carrier bar device 200. Multiple cradle devices 500 may also be used in alternative embodiments and fixed in multiple configurations as required by particular cargo dimensions. Multiple design specific bars 104 may be required in certain embodiments and are compatible with each other.
Upper support part 1310 and lower support part 1340 are attached by wires 1350 and in other embodiments, straps. Various locking means may be used in order to lock upper cradle portion and lower cradle portion in place and engage cargo in a stationary position. In the example embodiment wires 1350 is attached to a side of upper cradle portion which does not open with a bead, wire looped around holes in the metal, and fixed to itself. Alternatively, the two ends a single wire 1350 may be attached to each other via a groove in the bottom of lower support part. Wires 1350 are flexible in some embodiments. In some embodiments, straps are substituted for wires 1350. Straps are used in some embodiments with ratcheting mechanisms. In some embodiments multiple straps may be used and may be configured as appropriate including around a support post of cradle 500. Pin 1311 may be used to secure cradle latch 1360 to upper support part 1310 in some embodiments.
A cradle latch 1360 at the top of upper cradle portion is used to secure wires 1350 at the top surface of cradle 500. Cradle latch 1360 has fingertip aides in some embodiments to assist with user grip.
Each of upper support part 1310 and lower support part 1340 has vertical metal portions which hold upper engaging part 1320 and lower engaging part 1330 in place respectively. In some embodiments upper engaging part 1320 is fixed to upper support part 1310 and lower engaging part 1330 is fixed to lower support part 1340.
In some embodiments lower engagement part 1330 may have a varied construction such as a “V” shaped engagement support surface allowing for better holding and reduced swaying, in addition to having cargo-specific peg engagement.
Upper engaging part 1320 and lower engaging part 1330 in the example embodiment are made of rubber. In alternative embodiments they may be made of plastic, metal, or other materials and may include a variety of anti-slip coatings or gripping bumps, grooves or other surfaces. Upper engaging part 1320 and lower engaging part 1330 may be flexible in some embodiments in order to better provide grip on a horizontal bar and may be compatible with horizontal bars with different diameters and circumferences.
In the example embodiment, horizontal hole 1360 in cradle device 500 is parallel to the rear wall of the vehicle as shown in use in
In some embodiments, manual bicycles of approximately twenty-five pounds are supported. In some embodiments, electric bicycles of fifty to seventy-five pounds are supported. In some embodiments the horizontal bar of the bicycle needs to be two and a half feet above the ground in order to provide a one-foot clearance between the supported bicycle and the ground. In some embodiments the bicycle midline needs to be more than eight inches from the vehicle bumper in order to prevent the bicycle pedals from contacting the vehicle. In some embodiments a tire-tether device is provided in order to prevent the bicycle wheel or wheels from turning during transportation. For storage purposes, ends of the tire-tether device may attach to each other to aid in simplifying storage.
In the embodiments shown cradle device 600 operates with two parallel cradle straps 601 attached to cradle base 603 rather than upper support part 1310, upper engaging part 1320, cradle latch 1360, and wire 1350 as in
As shown in
When moving from a perpendicular to parallel configuration as described above, Dten pegs 611 lock cradle 600 into place (as carrying or storing configurations respectively).
In other embodiments, a key locking mechanism is used to lock carrier bar members 1140 in place and prevent the buttons 702, 704 from being engaged and unlocking the spring 1120. A key locking mechanism of this type may reside within carrier bar members 1140 and may be exposed when needed by exiting the front, rear, or sides of the carrier bar.
In embodiments using push buttons, the buttons may be angular so that they only have to be pushed to release (and not to engage). This eases in initial engagement when a user may be lifting and supporting cargo or transitional bars.
Cargo-peg securing location 1000 is compatible with standard size fixed cargo-peg so as to receive fixed cargo-peg and secure it in a fixed position. Securing in a fixed position means fixed cargo-peg would not be able to easily rotate once securing position is engaged. In the example embodiment cargo-peg securing location has a cylindrical dimensioned cargo-peg receiving area 1010 but this may alternately be rectangular, square, octagonal, other polygonal conical, or others as appropriate to be compatible with cargo-peg.
Cargo-peg receiving area 1010 fits snugly around cargo-peg and prevents movement of cargo-peg by rotations, lateral movements, and/or swaying.
Cargo-peg securing location 1000 may also have secondary pegs, pass-throughs, holes, or notches in order to provide additional securing structure. These secondary pegs, pass-throughs, holes, or notches are compatible with cargo-peg which has the corresponding structure for compatibility.
Cargo-peg securing location 1000 may be located in carrier rack system 1 in different appropriate locations. In some embodiments, cargo-peg securing location 1000 and cargo peg receiving area 1010 would be located in cradle 500 and/or cradle device 500.
Golf bag support device 3000 in the example embodiment shown is made generally of engagement members 3006, bag support 3010, straps 3008, hooks 3002, and clasps 3004.
Engagement members 3006 are generally made so as to be conveniently supported by cradle 500'"'"'s, especially in a dual cradle 500 setup where the cradles are generally about 5.5″ apart.
Bag support 3010 is generally a “V” or “U” shaped band of metal that supports the bag about six inches below its top.
Hook 3002 is located within bag support 3010 in the example embodiment and aids in supporting and immobilizing the bag in a position so as to engage strap 3008 around the bag.
In general, a golf bag (not shown) is made of a fairly soft, textile material. In some cases, the top few inches of a golf bag are reinforced by hard plastic. In many cases golf bags have handles for carrying a side of the bag. Golf bag support device 3000 is designed so that a golf bag handle may be placed on hook 3002. In some cases, the bottom of the hard plastic reinforcement may rest directly on bag support 3010. Strap 3008 is then wrapped around the soft textile portion of the bag and secured by clasp 3004 on the other side of the bag. In some embodiments clasp 3004 may be a ratcheting clasp that secures indentations of strap 3008.
In some embodiments vertical stabilizing bars (not shown) may extend or swing down from a transitional carrier bar device in order to help further immobilize a golf bag.
Golf bag support device 3000 generally holds the golf bag around two and a half feet from the bottom of the bag so that the bottom of the golf bag is held around one and a half feet above the ground to give clearance. In some embodiments additional golf bag support device 3000'"'"'s may be attached at the end of an initial golf bag support device 3000.
In some embodiments of the invention soft and hard golf bags may be retrofitted or manufactured with dedicated connecting systems to interface with a transitional bar device. These manufactures or retrofits may in some embodiments involve modifying the structurally strong upper part of a soft golf bag so that connection with a transitional carrier bar device is simplistic with a hook, peg-in-hole, or other simplistic mechanism. The receiving or grasping mechanism on the transitional carrier bar device that matches the one on the golf bag may be in any appropriate location including the sides or rear of a design specific carrier bar.
Typical golf bags with golf clubs inside weigh between twenty and forty pounds.
In some embodiments the handle of a golf bag may be manufactured or retrofitted with a hinge joint at the top of the handle that swings to ninety degrees and may be held in a cradle or otherwise grasped and supported by a transitional carrier bar device.
In the example embodiment straps 3008 are provided for the top and bottom of a golf bag. Also provided is a storage pod 3204 with a handle 3298 at its top and a collar attached to its skeleton 3299. In the example embodiment storage pod 3204 has clear or see-through walls although in some embodiments they may be opaque. The walls may be made of any appropriate material including PTFE. The walls are held in place by skeleton 3299 which may be made of any appropriate material including plastic, stainless steel, or others. Storage pod in the example embodiment is vertically oriented and rectangular in nature with dimensions of about 5″ by 10″ by 2′. The storage pod may be used to hold any appropriate golf or other equipment including and not limited to hats, shoes, tees, balls, gloves, and others.
In some embodiments a dedicated design specific bar may include engagement members which are fixed to the design specific bar in any appropriate manner such as welding, screws, brackets, or others.
In some embodiments collar 3208 allows the “golf pod” to be easily removed and stored in a storage location such as a garage or other location. The storage location may have a male member that inserts into the collar and is permanently mounted in the storage location. This provides simplicity and ease in removing and storing all golf related equipment at one time.
In some embodiments the storage pod may have ventilation slots, holes, or other related components. In some embodiments the storage pod may have lids with locking mechanisms that open with a hinge or slide on or off. Locking mechanisms may also be provided in other embodiments at the clasp 3004'"'"'s or in other locations to secure the golf bag when the owner is away.
Typical surfboards weigh around seven pounds are contemplated as typical cargo for beach carrier device. Other typical cargo may be surf, wake, boogie and other boards that are less than seven-eight feet long and have widths less than two feet.
Typically, upper supports 3102 and lower supports 3104 are tubular members and have a generally “U” or “V” shape. Lower supports 3104 typically descend two feet from engagement member 3006 and may ascend the same distance after curving at the bottom.
In some embodiments upper and lower bars may be rotated about engagement members in order to better support boards. In such embodiments appropriate locations may be fixed by locking upper and lower bars into place using pins or other appropriate means.
In some embodiments support rods in a horizontal or semi-horizontal orientation may be provided in order to engage and lock upper and lower members in place with relation to each other and prevent torsion effects during transportation or movement.
Strap 3008'"'"'s are provided in addition to numerous strap hook 3010'"'"'s in order to assist in securing boards to the device. In some embodiments strap 3008 is elastic, in some embodiments it is rubber, in some embodiments it is other appropriate materials. In some embodiments strap 3008 may be particular shaped with boards in mind while in some embodiments it may have no particular board shape in mind.
In some embodiments, in supplemental or replacing strap hook 3010'"'"'s may be a pointed end on the terminus of upper and lower support or another hooking mechanism to receive and secure strap 3008'"'"'s. In these embodiments strap 3008 has a hole or holes at the end or along the length of the strap in order to engage the hook or pointed end. The hole or holes may be lined with metal and engage “V” shaped extensions of upper and lower supports in a saw-tooth manner to assist in tightening at different lengths and holding a supported board securely against upper and/or lower support tubing.
In some embodiments, extensions may be required for a design specific bar to accommodate longer boards (such as those over seven feet in length) or cars with a high back end.
In some embodiments additional structures are provided such as additional straps with securing ends to provide support and/or stability to surfboard fins.
In some embodiments design specific bar may have integrated engagement member 3006'"'"'s that are manufactured as part of design specific bars by welding, screwing, clasping, or other securing means.
In the example embodiment lower support 3104 is used as an example and operates and is configured as described above. However, in addition, a secondary support 3016 may be attached to lower support 3104 using engagement sleeve 3012. Engagement sleeve 3012 slides over the outer arm of lower support 3104 and snugly secures secondary support 3016. In some embodiments an engagement pin 3014 may be used to further secure the connection.
In some embodiments “tongue-in-groove” notches at the top and bottom of the engagement sleeve and/or lower support extending arm are provided to prevent rotating.
In the example embodiment, similar to the “golf pod” above, storage is provided for beach or other gear. As above, ventilation may be provided in some embodiments. In some embodiments lockable lids may be provided with associated hinges, clasps, and other members.
In the example embodiments a design specific bar may have the engagement members that may be rotated ninety degrees so that a dedicated beach bar is created. This dedicated beach bar could then be mounted or stored on a wall easily and out of the way. In some embodiments upper and lower bars rotate in one direction, while in some embodiments upper and lower bars may rotate in opposite direction (and lock into place).
Provided in these drawings are wall mount 1111s that may be permanently or semi-permanently attached to a wall and a collar may be used to slide on or off wall mount 1111s.
In some board or “beach pod” embodiments a cradle or portion of the bar may rotate so that a surfboard may be held vertically.
In general, these pods are similar to those described above and include upper support 3210'"'"'s and lower support 3212'"'"'s for ski'"'"'s and/or snowboards. In some embodiments lower support may be closed at its bottom so that the bottom of the ski or snowboard rests within the component.
In many embodiments upper support 3210 opens at one end using a hinge and then clamps shut after the ski'"'"'s or snowboards have been secured or inserted into lower support 3212.
In some embodiments storage pod lid 3206 may have a lock or locking mechanism that prevents unauthorized access and/or theft.
In the example embodiments shown in
In many embodiments two snowboards or sets of skis are supported on each side of the “snow pod.” The pod itself is operable to store whatever gear a user may want to store. Typically, this would include gloves, hats, mittens, helmets, beanies, sunglasses, visors, goggles, boots, shoes, or others. This helps avoid clutter within the vehicle and also provides an alternative for moving snow into the car where it may melt and dampen the car interior. As provided above, in many embodiments the storage pod 3204 may be ventilated.
In some embodiments of the invention the “snow pod” may have an internal skeleton 3202 that is integrated into the body of storage pod 3204. In some embodiments the “snow pod” may have an external skeleton that is located around storage pod 3204 but is not integrated as a part of storage pod 3204.
As a reference, 4.5 cubic feet are typically required to carry four ski boots and 2.4 cubic feet are required to carry four helmets. The “snow pod” may have dimensions of 2′×2′×2′ or 8 cubic feet in order to accommodate these dimensions. Additionally, the weight of ski'"'"'s with bindings is typically around seven pounds and ski boots are around eight pounds for a total of 15 pounds for one complete set and 60 pounds for four sets. The weight of a snowboard with bindings is typically around twelve pounds and snowboard boots are typically around five pounds for a total of 17 pounds per set and 68 pounds per four sets.
As mentioned above for many of the embodiments of the device, ease and simplicity of storage is a major improvement. As such, embodiments are designed to keep similar activity related objects together, such as snow equipment, golf equipment, beach equipment, and others described herein. In some embodiments of the invention the interior of storage pods may be pre-organized based on a particular activity. As such, there may be moveable walls, floors, boxes, or other interior components or containers with particular item storage in mind.
As an example, one embodiment of the invention is a baseball pod. A baseball pod may have elongated tubes for storing bats, boxes or compartments with baseballs in mind, storage for mitts, storage for batting gloves, sunflower seed pouch storage, cleat compartments, jersey or other clothing compartments, or storage for other equipment of customary or ancillary relation to the sport.
Storage pods contemplated in embodiments herein are not limited to sports or outdoor activities. In some embodiments a storage pod of wrapping supplies such as wrapping paper, bows, tape, scissors, or other equipment may be provided. In some embodiments tailgating equipment such as tongs, can coolers, cup holders, condiment holders, or others may be provided and, in some embodiments, even grills may be provided. Likewise, coolers are contemplated in some embodiments. Home shopping party supplies may be stored in some specialized pods. In some embodiments, commercial pods such as contractor toolboxes may be provided.
Storage pods may be installed in any rooms or locations necessary and may be of greatly varied size and construction. In some embodiments, storage pods may open from the sides or bottom, may only have partial openings, and may include drawers, buttons, or other members.
Storage pods of many varieties may be paired with racks of differing dimensions in order to support large or oblong cargo.
Car emblem support device 1301 is an embodiment of a receiving unit for carrier system 1. In the example embodiment, car emblem support device 1301 is hidden behind car emblem 1303 when car emblem 840 is in the closed position.
Car emblem 840 is operable to open to reveal car emblem support device 1301, as shown in
Locking mechanism 1311 secures transitional carrier bar device 200 in a fixed position. Locking mechanism 1311 engages spring loaded metal latch 1307 in the example embodiment. The movement of locking mechanism 1311 in some embodiments may be controlled manually by an operator moving the mechanism from an unlocked position to a locked position. Alternatively, the movement of locking mechanism 1311 may be controlled automatically by a servo mechanism with a wireless or remote key 1313.
In the example embodiment, spring loaded metal latch 1307 is a bolt in the shape of a cylinder with a circular cross-section. Alternatively, spring loaded metal latch 1307 may be a bolt which has numerous other cross-sectional profiles including oval, square, rectangle, pentagon, octagon, or any number of other shapes. The size of the bolt may also be thin and plate-like in some embodiments. Additionally, spring loaded metal latch 1307 may not have a uniform cross section along its entire length and may have grooves, holes, notches, ratchets, or others as required to lock transitional carrier bar 200 in place.
Although the example embodiment shows receiver 1300 as connected directly to car emblem support device 1301, in some embodiments car emblem support device 1301 may be located in a position which spans an area different from that shown in
Transitional carrier bar device 200 in the example embodiment has a proximal end 106 of a male type which inserts into receiver 1300 of car emblem support device 1301 which is of a female type. Alternatively, transitional carrier bar device may have a proximal female end which receives the male end of a connector from the rear of the vehicle. Connection of transitional carrier bar device 200 and receiver 1300 is achieved with a locking mechanism 1311 which operates opening and closing of spring loaded metal latch 1307. In the example embodiment, after proximal end 106 of transitional carrier bar device 200 is inserted into receiver 1300 of car emblem support device 1301, spring loaded metal latch 1307 is engaged by locking mechanism 1311 and passes into and through latch-hole 108 to secure transitional carrier bar device 200. Other connections may be substituted or supplemented in other embodiments where appropriate, such as pins, locks, and others.
Transitional carrier bar device 200 in some embodiments includes additional elements such as vertical elements which help to alleviate sway or provide more support for cargo.
In the example embodiment, receiver 1300 is made of steel. However, alternative materials such as aluminum, titanium, or other composites, alloys, or pure metals may be used. Receiver 1300 is bolted in the example embodiment but may alternatively be welded, fastened or otherwise attached or affixed to vehicle in such location and configuration as to receive proximal end 106 of transitional carrier bar device 200.
Secondary support structure 1500 may allow for transfer of some or all mechanical support for hollow load spreading element 1502 of receiving unit 1300 from one location to another. In an example embodiment, hollow load spreading element 1502 may be supported in the interior of wall 36 above or below by secondary support structure 1500. Secondary support structure 1500 extends upward as upper support structure 1504 to the stable under surface of trunk lid 1506 and/or downward as lower support structure 1508 to the stable upper surface lid deck 1512. At its terminus, upper support structure 1504 may fit into or rest against an installed terminal installation (not shown) and lower support structure 1508 may fit into or rest against an installed terminal installation 1510.
Terminal installation 1510 may be a plate which lower support structure 1508 rests against. Alternately, terminal installation 1510 may be a plate with holes, grooves or notches into which lower support structure 1508 fits snugly. Holes, grooves or notches may be made of the same material as plate or may be made of a different material. Alternately, holes, grooves or notches may be coated, covered, or otherwise provide separation between lower support structure 1508 and terminal installation 1510 in a closed position by use of another material such as rubber. Alternately, terminal installation 1510 may be a cup type structure that lower support structure 1508 fits inside. In the example embodiment, terminal installation 1510 is affixed to lid deck 1512 by screws but alternative fixations may be possible including brackets or others. For installations with a greater distance between receiving unit 1300 and trunk lid 1506, a similar terminal installation may be provided on the underside of trunk lid 1506 that may or may not be identical in size to terminal installation 1510.
Various horizontal and vertical reinforcing plates are used in various embodiments to provide additional support to the various portions of the invention as described above. In some embodiments these reinforcing plates are constructed of steel or other strong metals. Support in some embodiments requires engagement of the rear fascia of the vehicle and its various surfaces.
In various embodiments of the invention additional support may be provided against the surface which is providing the main support for the transitional carrier bar using additional components such as extensions of members or associated components with rubber or other “feet” so as to prevent damage to the surface.
In some embodiments, transitional carrier bar device 200 and/or receiving unit 1300 have strategic breaking points, designed specifically to mechanically fail when undergoing massive mechanical stresses such as during a motor vehicle accident. This design helps to alleviate danger in some cases.
Transitional carrier bar device 200 in some embodiments is lightweight so that it does not contribute significantly to the weight of the vehicle. As such, it may generally be easily deployed by normal users.
In various embodiments different securing pieces or mechanisms may be used to provide additional securing ability to male-female or female-male connections such as pins, spring-pins, or others and may be manually operated or automatically operated with a remote.
In some embodiments locking mechanisms may be rotary locks such that pegs or other engaging mechanisms extend out of locking holes when a user rotates a lock in one direction (such as clockwise) and revert into locking holes when a user rotates a lock in the opposite direction (such as counter-clockwise). These are occasionally referred to as twist and lock mechanisms.
In some embodiments, the receiving unit may also attach to or extend from anywhere on the back, side, or front of the vehicle. This includes locations such as under a rear air foil, as part of the fascia often housing the light extending over a license plate area, under the fascia over a license plate area, from behind a license plate, along a rear panel just above the bumper, under a rear airfoil, from a side door, from a front grill, or others.
Concepts of the invention as described above can be used for cargo specific applications and/or general cargo requirements in various embodiments. Examples of cargo may include and are not limited to: bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, and other cycles with or without motors; wheelchairs; golf clubs; grocery/shopping bags; suitcases and other luggage; skis/poles; furniture; fishing poles and tackle; boots, shoes and other footwear; snowboards, surfboards, skateboards, wakeboards, skimboards, bodyboards, and other boards; coolers; barbecues and other tailgating equipment; signs/banners; strollers, carriages, and other child or baby transportation devices; boxes; storage systems including toolboxes, hobby boxes, sports storage boxes for balls or the like, miscellaneous storage, or other storage; and various other cargo. In some embodiments, cargo may weigh between two-hundred and three hundred pounds and in other embodiments lighter and/or heavier cargo may be supported.
Concepts of the invention as described above are applicable in embodiments including motorized and non-motorized vehicles. Concepts which apply or refer to a vehicular bumper above generally apply to embodiments and locations of a vehicle where a vehicular bumper has traditionally and is commonly understood to exist. In vehicles in which the bumper may be in non-traditional locations such as at the top of the rear of the vehicle or other locations, the commonly understood bumper location is applicable to the embodiments above.
Concepts of the invention as described above can be integrated into the front of a vehicle, such as the front grill of a vehicle. Vehicles may include cars, trucks, three-wheel vehicles, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, buses, motor homes, vans, minivans, sport utility vehicles, carriages, trailers, and other vehicles. And, the concepts of the invention as described above can also be integrated into the side of a vehicle, such as a side of a truck bed, a side door, or a side of a trunk lid.
In many embodiments engaging pieces and mechanisms may have chamfered edges to ease engagement.
While embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, and all such modifications and equivalents are intended to be covered.
In many instances'"'"' entities are described herein as being coupled to other entities. It should be understood that the terms “coupled” and “connected” (or any of their forms) are used interchangeably herein and, in both cases, are generic to the direct coupling of two entities (without any non-negligible (e.g., parasitic) intervening entities) and the indirect coupling of two entities (with one or more non-negligible intervening entities). Where entities are shown as being directly coupled together or described as coupled together without description of any intervening entity, it should be understood that those entities can be indirectly coupled together as well unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
While the embodiments are susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific examples thereof have been shown in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that these embodiments are not to be limited to the particular form disclosed, but to the contrary, these embodiments are to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit of the disclosure. Furthermore, any features, functions, steps, or elements of the embodiments may be recited in or added to the claims, as well as negative limitations that define the inventive scope of the claims by features, functions, steps, or elements that are not within that scope.