This application relates to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 61/490,516, filed on May 26, 2011, titled ELASTIC FINGER STRAP AND SURFACE MOUNT FOR ELECTRONIC DEVICE, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
The present disclosure relates to a device designed for easier and more secure transport of a mobile phone or other hand-held electronic device, and a complementary mount for securing the electronic device to a surface. SUMMARY
In one aspect, the present disclosure relates to a flexible strap that is adhered to a rigid base that is in turn adhered to the back of an electronic device allowing the user to hold the electronic device securely with one or more fingers. The strap is flexible enough to allow a user to hold the device in a variety of ways, making it safer as well as more practical and ergonomic to use. The rigid base may be bowtie-shaped, as shown in the drawings, or of a shape, design or color that can be used to distinguish or stylize the electronic device it is attached to. The strap and strap base are of a low profile (ideally less than one quarter of an inch) so as to not interfere with the usual operation or grip of the device or other methods of securing the device.
In another aspect, there is disclosed a complementary base that adheres to a surface and mates to the strap, enabling an electronic device to be mounted to any surface and used in a “hands free” fashion. The complementary base may attach to a solid surface, article of clothing, vehicle interior, handbag or luggage, among other things. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates the flexible strap of one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates the die cut adhesive used to adhere the rigid base to an electronic device in one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates a front view of the rigid base for the flexible strap in one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates a rear view of the rigid base for the flexible strap in one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 illustrates a rear view of the rigid base with the flexible strap attached in one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 illustrates a rear view of the rigid base with strap attached and die cut adhesive in place in one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 illustrates a front view of one embodiment of the rigid base with the strap attached.
FIG. 8 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention attached to an electronic device.
FIG. 9 illustrates a rear view of one embodiment of the present invention in the hand of a user and attached to an electronic device.
FIG. 10 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the present invention in the hand of a user and attached to an electronic device.
FIG. 11 illustrates a front view of one embodiment of the mount face of the present invention with the rigid base engaged.
FIG. 12 illustrates a rear view of one embodiment of the mount face of the present invention with the rigid base engaged.
FIG. 13 illustrates one embodiment of the mount face of the present invention with three backer options.
FIG. 14 illustrates one embodiment of the strap and mount of the present invention in use with an electronic device. DETAILED DESCRIPTION
The exemplary embodiments described herein in detail for illustrative purposes are subject to many variations in structure and design. It should be emphasized, however, that the present disclosure is not limited to a particular strap, base and mount, as shown and described. It is understood that various omissions and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest or render expedient, but these are intended to cover the application or embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present disclosure. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Further, the terms, “a” and “an” herein do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item. Unless limited otherwise, the terms “attached,” “coupled,” and variations thereof herein are used broadly and encompass direct and indirect attachments and couplings.
Referring now to FIG. 7, there is depicted an apparatus 10 comprised of an elastic strap 101 spanning the length of a rigid base 102. The strap 101 is of an elastic fabric material, though may be comprised of rubber or similar flexible material. In the case of rubber, the strap 101 could provide additional friction for secure handling of the device in question. The strap 101 is flexible enough to allow a user's fingers to be inserted between the strap 101 and base 102 for easier holding and control of the device to which the base 102 is attached. The strap 101 is permanently secured to the rigid base 102 at both ends (as shown in FIG. 5), and attached in such a way that it is held taut against the base 102. The strap 101 may be printed upon with text or graphics in some embodiments. The width of the strap 101 may vary. The strap 101 may have a loop to attach lanyards or trinkets. The base 102 may be of plastic, metal, wood or other rigid material (as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4). The base 102 adheres to the back side of any hand-held electronic device, protective case or other solid surface using an adhesive 103 with strong bonding capability, but with such adhesive 103 also being removable; the VHB family of tapes or other similar adhesives may be used as the adhesive 103 in some embodiments of the present invention. In other embodiments, the strap 101 may be attached by physically engaging an electronic device's protective case or tensioned via buckle, snaps or by expanding the length of the base 102.
Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 4, the three components of the elastic finger strap 10 are depicted: a finger strap 101 comprised of a strip of elastic material, a rigid plastic base 102 (front and back are depicted), and double-sided tape or other adhesive 103 which has a high bond adhesive but which will remove without damage to the device, its case, or the base 102 of the present invention 10. To improve adhesion, the tape may be die cut to match the shape of the rigid base, as shown in the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 2 and 6. In some embodiments, the double-sided tape or other adhesive 103 may cover only a portion of one side of the rigid base 102. Some embodiments may use a single piece of adhesive material, and other embodiments may use multiple pieces of adhesive material.
Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a thin, bowtie-shaped base 102 with a top and bottom face, two ends and two contoured sides. The sides and corners are beveled towards the bottom face to create a smoother feel for the user. The sides are contoured for easier insertion of fingers or surface mount. Referring to FIG. 4, the bottom face of the base 102 is smooth, with channels 104 at each end to receive a portion of the strap 101. The channel 104 is as wide as the strap 101. The base 102 may be made to different lengths and widths to accommodate different mounting apparatus or appendages. The base 102 may be integrated with the case of the electronic device. The base may be a protective case for a mobile phone.
Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, the assembled strap and base are attached to an electronic device and shown in a user's hand, demonstrating use of the present invention.
Referring now to FIGS. 11 through 14, a complementary mount 20 for securing an electronic device to a surface is shown. The mount 20 interfaces with the elastic strap 101 and rigid contoured base 102 of the present invention. The mount 20 is comprised of its face 201 and a center rivet 203 that attaches the face to a variety of backers 204. The mount face 201 is made of a rigid material with two concave recesses 202 in the shape of the base of the present invention. The recesses 202 may vary in dimension and placement depending on the shape of the base 102. The mount face 201 may be made from or include in its construction plastic, wood, metal, leather, rubber, or synthetic or other material. The mount face 201 at the point of the recesses 202 is equal to or slightly less than the length of the base 102 of the present invention. The concave recesses 202 are placed perpendicular to one another to accommodate holding the electronic device in either landscape or portrait orientation. The mount face 201 is secured to its backer 204 through a threaded rivet 203 or similar fastener in the center, with sufficient height to enable the securing of an electronic device at a usable angle. Referring to FIG. 13, the mount face could be connected to a variety of backers for adhering to a surface, including but not limited to, suction cups, a solid surface with high bond adhesive tape, flexible wire or armature, VELCRO, or magnets. Referring to FIGS. 11, 12 and 14, the mount face 201 will receive the strap 101 and base 102 of the present invention until the base 102 “locks” into the recesses 202 in the mounting base 20 and the strap 101 aligns against the rivet 203 in the center of the mounting face 201, holding the electronic device in place.
In some embodiments, the mount 20 is contoured to attach to a computer case or the case of tablet computer or e-book reader or similarly flat-screened device. The mount 20 may also be shaped to attach to a musical instrument, bicycle or tool. The mount 20 may also attach to objects via magnets, VELCRO, snaps, adhesive strip, hooks, bolt and nut, screw or any other means of attachment. The mount 20 may employ rubber or other high friction material in order to securely hold a device.