VIEWER FENCE

A viewer fence that can be rotated from a position of privacy to a position that allows one to view what is behind the fence. The boards of the fence are rotated automatically by a motor. The motor may be controlled remotely.

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Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application incorporates by reference Provision Application Ser. No. 61/075,526 titled “Viewer Fence,” filed on Jun. 25, 2008.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a viewer fence according to an embodiment of the invention in its closed state.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the viewer fence shown in FIG. 1 in its open state.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a viewer fence according to another embodiment of the invention in its open state.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the viewer fence shown in FIG. 3 in its closed state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiments of the invention are directed to a fence with boards (also known as slats or pickets) that are able to rotate so that the fence appears open, partially open or closed. The boards have a width shown in FIG. 1 and a thickness shown in FIG. 2. In FIG. 1 the fence is shown in its closed state. The boards abut one another so that what is behind the fence remains private. In FIG. 2 the fence is shown in its open state where items on either side of the fence can be viewed. Preferably the rotation of the boards is activated automatically by a motor that is controlled by a switch at the fence location or is controlled remotely. In a preferred embodiment the activation means, i.e. means to rotate the boards, includes a motor preferably electric, a cable wire and a gear and pulley assembly. In a preferred embodiment the activation means is located on one side of the fence inside a preferably detachable cover. A lower gear is operatively coupled to the motor and is driven by the motor. The lower gear is coupled to the pulley to drive the upper gear. The lower and upper gears are operatively coupled to chains or wire coupled to each board. Each board has a bottom member that is located in a base. Preferably the bottom member may be a round peg that fits into a round hole in the base. When the motor is activated, the lower gear rotates thus moving the pulley and rotating the upper gear. When the lower and upper gears rotate they pull wire to rotate the boards. Preferably the boards rotate anywhere from 0° to about 90°.

As previously mentioned, a power switch may be located at the fence site such as in the detachable cover or there may be a remote detector such as an infrared eye located at the site and responsive to a remote controller. Thus, an operator may activate the fence remotely.

The upper and lower wires are coupled to each board using any type of coupling mechanism such as a bolt, for example. In addition, optionally a support wire located in the middle of the fence may couple each board to its adjacent boards. The support wire is not physically coupled to either upper or lower gear. The support wire is optional and may be used to provide additional support.

Preferably the fence is of typical height of about 6 to 8 feet. Its length can range preferably from about 12 to about 25 feet. Of course it could be made shorter or longer depending on its location. In addition multiple fences may be used to cover a large area. The controls for each section may be linked so that they operate simultaneously.

Instead of a motor, gear and pulley system, the fence may be controlled hydraulically or pneumatically, for example. Each board would be rotatably coupled to the bottom base by a peg and hole combination as previously described. In the base, the boards are operatively coupled to rotate simultaneously for example by a piston and cam arrangement or any other way known to those or ordinary skill in the art. Because the boards are coupled only at their bottom ends, they may rotate a full 180° without any wires getting in the way. This could be useful in situations where in a first closed position, one message is displayed across the fence and in a second closed position, rotated 180° from the first closed position a different message is displayed across the fence.

The fence according to the embodiments of the invention can be used in homes or businesses to enhance the property's landscape, or could inform people whether a business is open or closed. It has individual set of boards that are movable; the ability to rotate boards simultaneously to allow for privacy in one's yard or other property, or open view by the flip of a switch. The viewer fence may have two sides of information displays available as well as optional special design orders, such as, “Christmas” lightings, “Birthday welcomes.” The boards are preferably made of wood, hard plastic, or metals.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a viewer fence according to another embodiment of the invention in its open state. FIG. 4 shows the fence of FIG. 3 in its closed state. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the viewer fence may have a safety fence or net of about 2 feet in height to protect small children and pets from leaving a protected area even when the fence is in its open position. Preferably, the safety net is made of a mesh material so that it does not obstruct the view. With such a safety fence, the rotation of the boards is limited so that it only rotates 90° in either direction so that the safety fence does not get wrapped around individual boards. The viewer fence may also be operated by manual or remote devices. The viewer fence may raise property value as well as enhance the landscape. It's design is attractive, colors can be matched to the color of the house and property. The rotating fence comes in plain or colorful design and writing.

The shape of the boards of the fence may vary depending on the user's tastes. Their cross-sections may be square, rectangular, round, for example. In addition, ornamental features may be added to their top portions. The viewer fence may be rotated so that its boards are between the open state and closed state depending on the user's needs.

In another embodiment, the boards of the viewer fence may be translated instead of rotated.

Claims

1. A viewer fence comprising:

a plurality of boards located along a base member, each board having a width and a thickness wherein the boards are located adjacent to one another so that their widths are displayed in a first position; and
an activation means for rotating the boards from the first position to a second position wherein in the second position, the thickness of each board is displayed.

2. The fence of claim 1 wherein the activation means comprises:

a motor
a lower gear operatively coupled to the motor
an upper gear
a pulley coupling the lower gear to the upper gear
a lower wire coupled to the lower gear and each board of the fence near a bottom portion; and
an upper wire coupled to the upper gear and each board of the fence near an upper portion wherein when the motor is activated, the lower and upper gears rotate and pull the lower and upper wires respectively.

3. The fence of claim 1 further comprising:

a safety net coupled to a surface of each board so that the safety net is exposed when the boards are rotated to their second positions.

4. The fence of claim 3 wherein the safety net is a mesh material.

5. The fence of claim 1 wherein each board has a front width and a back width and in a first closed position the front width of each board is displayed and in a second closed position the back width of each board is displayed.

6. The fence of claim 5 wherein a first message is displayed when the boards are in the first closed position and a second message is displayed when the boards are in the second closed position.

7. The fence of claim 1 wherein the thickness of each board is displayed in the second position.

Patent History

Publication number: 20090321697
Type: Application
Filed: Jun 25, 2009
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2009
Inventor: Glen Robinson (Minneapolis, MN)
Application Number: 12/491,670

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Hinged (256/26)
International Classification: E04H 17/14 (20060101);