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Numéro de publicationWO2012146899 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandePCT/GB2012/000395
Date de publication1 nov. 2012
Date de dépôt30 avr. 2012
Date de priorité28 avr. 2011
Numéro de publicationPCT/2012/395, PCT/GB/12/000395, PCT/GB/12/00395, PCT/GB/2012/000395, PCT/GB/2012/00395, PCT/GB12/000395, PCT/GB12/00395, PCT/GB12000395, PCT/GB1200395, PCT/GB2012/000395, PCT/GB2012/00395, PCT/GB2012000395, PCT/GB201200395, WO 2012/146899 A1, WO 2012146899 A1, WO 2012146899A1, WO-A1-2012146899, WO2012/146899A1, WO2012146899 A1, WO2012146899A1
InventeursSteven Corcoran
DéposantCorcost Limited
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes:  Patentscope, Espacenet
Modular equipment and couplings therefor
WO 2012146899 A1
Résumé
A kit for assembling one or more final articles in any of a plurality of configurations without the need for tooling, the kit comprising a frame (5) and multiple elemental parts (6, 7) for connection to the frame (5), the frame (5) comprising multiple connection modules each having a connector part and each elemental part (6, 7) comprising either or both of; a connector part configured for connection with a connector part of one or more of the connector modules in any of a plurality of angular orientations, or a plurality of identical connection parts spatially aligned whereby to enable connection with a connector part of a connector module in any of a plurality of relative linear displacements, wherein all connector parts are configured such that secure connection can be achieved between an elemental part (6, 7) and a connector module without use of tooling.
Revendications  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)
1. A kit for assembly into one or more articles having a plurality of different configurations, optionally being configurable and/or re-configurable according to requirements of a user, and optionally without requiring tools, the kit comprising a frame and a plurality of elemental parts for connection to the frame, the frame comprising a plurality of connection modules, each having a connector part, and each elemental part comprising one or more connector parts which are configured for connection with one or more connector parts of one or more of the connector modules in any of a plurality of configurations, optionally with different angular orientations and/or relative displacements, wherein all of the connector parts are configured such that a secure connection can be achieved between an elemental part and one or more connector modules of the frame.
2. A kit as claimed in claim 1 , wherein one or more elemental parts comprise a plurality of connection parts, optionally identical connection parts which are spatially aligned.
3. A kit as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein one or more of the elemental parts further comprise one or more additional connector parts for connecting with additional elemental parts having complimentary connector parts, the connector parts comprising pairings which enable connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations and/or with relative linear displacements.
4. A kit as claimed in claim 3, wherein the frame and the elemental parts together assemble to provide a plurality of chair configurations, and additional elemental parts provide ancillary features to the assembled chair.
5. A kit as claimed in claim 4, wherein the connecting elemental parts comprise one or more of a seat base, a seat back rest and support limbs to which additional elemental parts can be directly connected.
6. A kit as claimed in claim 5, wherein the additional elemental parts comprise one or more of adjustable arm rests, adjustable leg rests and adjustable head rests.
7. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the frame comprises a wheeled base.
8. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 7, wherein the frame and the elemental parts incorporate mutually-compatible electrical and/or data carrier connectors, enabling the assembled article further to incorporate equipment selected from electronic sensors, monitors, data receivers and transmitters, controllers, wifi receivers and transmitters, LED lighting, capacitors, circuit boards, and wiring looms for connecting external electrically-operated equipment.
9. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the frame, or at least a part thereof, has a substantially U-shaped cross section into which a plurality of connector modules can be fitted.
10. A kit as claimed in claim 9, wherein the connector modules are configured to friction fit into the U-shaped frame.
1 1. A kit as claimed in claim 9, wherein the connector modules are permanently fixed, optionally adhered, to an inner surface of the U-shaped frame.
12. A kit as claimed in any of claims 9 to 1 1 , wherein the frame includes a plurality of separators, pairs of which, within the U-shaped frame, define a chamber into which a connector module can be received.
13. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 12, wherein the frame incorporates locking members, optionally locking handles, which can overlap a surface of a connector module when located in the frame and are secured in receiving elements, optionally clips, clamps or hooks, which are incorporated in the frame, thereby to hold the connector module in position.
14. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 13, wherein all connector parts of similar type share the same shape and dimensions on all elemental parts in which they are incorporated.
15. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 14, wherein the kit is for a seat, optionally for hospital applications, and comprises a single frame which incorporates a defined arrangement of connection modules, a single leg rest support and a single arm rest support and a plurality of seat base, back rest, arm rest and/or head rest elemental parts which can be interchanged and arranged in desired configurations, optionally at different angular orientations and/or linear displacements, relative to the frame.
16. A kit as claimed in clam 15, wherein the frame is configured to receive additional removable connector parts which enable connection of additional equipment to the seat.
17. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 14, wherein the frame and the connecting elemental parts together assemble to form a plurality of bed configurations, optionally for hospital applications, and additional elemental parts provide optional ancillary features to the assembled bed.
18. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 14, wherein the frame and the connectable elemental parts together assemble to form a plurality of hoist configurations, optionally for hospital applications, and additional elemental parts provide optional ancillary features to the assembled hoist.
19. A kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 18, further incorporating one or more motorised actuators to permit orientational and/or spatial adjustments of elemental parts of an assembled kit.
20. A connector part pairing, such as for use in the kit of any of claims 1 to 19, which enables connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations, wherein the connector part pairing comprises two connectable elements, one of the connectable elements comprising a non-circular, radially-symmetrical shaped feature and the other connectable element comprising a non-circular, radially- symmetrical shaped feature which is dimensioned to receive the non-circular, radially-symmetrical shaped feature of the one connectable element in any of two or more rotational orientations.
21. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 20, wherein the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped feature on the one element comprises a protrusion and the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped feature on the other element comprises an aperture, optionally a recess or orifice.
22. A connector part pairing as claimed in claims 21 , wherein the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion comprises two or more radial protrusions emanating from a centre, optionally of similar proportion, with each of the radial protrusions representing a different possible angular orientation.
23. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 22, wherein the number of radial protrusions is from 2 to 12, preferably from 6 to 8.
24. A connector part pairing as claimed in any of claims 20 to 23, wherein at least one of the two elements further comprises a resiliently-f!exib!e, live hinge which is arranged, in use, to be re-positionable against the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion, thereby to hold the protrusion in place within the recess or orifice.
25. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 24, wherein the live hinge is configured to be held in a fixed position by a fastener which is integrally formed with or otherwise fixed to one of the elements.
26. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 25, wherein the fastener is a clamp, clip or hook fastener.
27. A connector part pairing as claimed in any of claims 20 to 26, wherein one of the connectable elements is formed in a connector module in the frame.
28. A connector part pairing, such as for incorporation in the kit of any of claims 1 to 19, which enables connection in a plurality of relative displacements, optionally linear displacements, wherein the connector part pairing comprises two connectable elements, one of the connectable elements comprising a plurality of equi-spaced aligned slots or equi-spaced aligned anchors, and the other connectable element comprising one or more slots or anchors, whereby one or more slots or anchors of the one element are configured to engage securely with one or more anchors or slots of the other element.
29. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 28, wherein one of the connectable elements is provided in a connector module in the frame.
30. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 28 or 29, wherein the anchors comprise substantially L-shaped hooks extending from a surface, optionally a planar surface, of one element, and the corresponding slots comprise longitudinal slots which pass through a wall of the other element or recesses having an L-shaped cross section of similar dimension to the L-shaped hooks of the one element and into which the hooks can be located.
31. A connector part pairing as claimed in claim 28 or 29, wherein the anchors comprise resiliently-compressible nodes and the corresponding slots have a width dimension which is slightly less than a maximum dimension of the uncompressed node, such that the nodes can be press fit into the slots.
32. An article, optionally a load-bearing article, formed using the kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 19 or incorporating one or more connector part pairings as claimed in any of claims 20 to 31.
33. An article as claimed in claim 32, wherein the article is a chair, seat, bed, platform or hoist, optionally re-configurable, and optionally for medical, dental, beauty therapy, office or vehicular application.
34. A method of forming an article, optionally a load-bearing article, using the kit as claimed in any of claims 1 to 19 or incorporating one or more connector part pairings as claimed in any of claims 20 to 31 , optionally without use of any tools.
35. An article as claimed in claim 34, wherein the article is a chair, seat, bed, platform or hoist, optionally re-configurable, and optionally for medical, dental, beauty therapy, office or vehicular application.
Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

MODULAR EQUIPMENT AND COUPLINGS THEREFOR

The present invention relates to modular equipment, in particular (but not strictly limited to) adjustable and adaptable beds, hoists and chairs used in medical, dental, beauty therapy and similar applications. Further applications include; office furniture, modular seating bedding and transport systems for babies and children, automotive seating and other vehicular seating. The invention provides for modular elements to be interchanged in a framework by means of novel coupling arrangements which, in addition permit adjustable positioning of the element with respect to the frame.

Within the healthcare sector, the need for a modular system that allows medical devices such as beds, chairs and hoists to be assembled and reconfigured without the need for additional tooling is paramount. Such a system will allow an essentially "open source" design which permits specially configured modular elements to be easily introduced into the system to adapt the system to bespoke patient requirements.

The proposed system allows for a constant and consistent ability to upgrade equipment whilst making sure that previous modular parts fit the new products; in this way, styling and other aspects can change, but the modular components and assemblies, regardless of the upgrade or pre-upgrade status will be able to fit the various different products, they will be able to be used on new products (upgraded products) and older products (pre-upgraded products). This system gives a commonality across all ranges and across all products irrespective of the age of any one component design.

The present invention provides a kit for assembling one or more final articles in any of a plurality of configurations without the need for tooling, the kit comprising a frame and multiple elemental parts for connection to the frame, the frame comprising multiple connection modules each having a connector part and each elemental part comprising either or both of; a connector part configured for connection with a connector part of one or more of the connector modules in any of a plurality of angular orientations, or a plurality of identical connection parts spatially aligned whereby to enable connection with a connector part of a connector module in any of a plurality of relative linear displacements, wherein all connector parts are configured such that secure connection can be achieved between an elemental part and a connector module without use of tooling. Elemental parts may further comprise additional connector parts for connecting with additional elemental parts having complementing connector parts, the connector parts comprise pairings which enable connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations and/or pairings which enable connection in any of a plurality of relative linear displacements.

It is to be appreciated that elemental parts and the frame may, in addition include connector pairings that fit in only one way and do not allow for adjustment.

In a preferred embodiment, the frame and connecting elemental parts together assemble to perform multiple chair configurations, additional elemental parts provide optional add-ons to the assembled chair.

For example, connecting elemental parts comprise a seat base, and a seat back rest and support limbs to which additional elemental parts can be directly connected, the additional elemental parts, for example (but without limitation), comprising adjustable armrests, adjustable leg rests, adjustable side supports for the backrest and adjustable headrests.

The frame may optionally comprise a wheeled base.

The frame and elemental parts can incorporate mutually compatible electrical and/or data carrier connectors enabling the assembled article (for example a seat for use by patients in a hospital environment) to further incorporate electronic sensors, monitors, data receivers and transmitters, controllers, wifi and Zigbee receivers and transmitters, LED lighting, capacitors, circuit boards, wiring looms for connecting external electrically operated equipment, and the like.

In a preferred embodiment, the frame is formed to have a substantially U shaped cross section into which multiple connector modules can be fitted. The modules can be configured to friction fit into the U shaped frame but it may, for at least some applications be preferable to permanently adhere the modules to the inner surface of the U shaped frame. The frame may additionally be formed to include multiple separators, pairs of which, within the U shaped frame define a chamber into which a connector module can be received. The frame may optionally incorporate locking handles which can be crossed over a surface of a connector module located in the frame and secured in a receiving clip, clamp or hook also incorporated into the frame whereby to hold a connector module in position. Such locking handles may further be used to secure the position of elemental parts connected to the connector modules.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is provided a connector part pairing which enables connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations two connectable elements where one of the connectable elements is optionally a connector module in the frame, a first element comprising a non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion and a second element comprising a non- circular, radially symmetrical shaped recess or orifice dimensioned to receive the non- circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion of the first element in any of two or more rotational orientations, at least one of the two elements further comprising a resiliently flexible live hinge arranged, in use, to be repositionable against the non- circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion whereby to hold the protrusion in place within the recess or orifice.

Conveniently the live hinge may be configured to be clamped or clipped or hooked into a fixed position by means of a clamp, clip or hook fastener integrally formed with or otherwise fixed to either one of the elements.

The above mentioned aspect of the invention is particularly useful, for example (but without limitation) in attaching an armrest, leg rest, or headrest to a chair at an angular orientation to suit a seat occupants size, comfort needs and/or any medical condition to be addressed. The arrangement permits two connectable elements to be securely connected at any of a number of different relative angles. The number of angular adjustments possible being determined by the shape of the protrusion and recess or orifice. The shape will typically comprise two or more similarly proportioned radial protrusions emanating from a centre, each of the radial protrusions represents a different possible angular orientation. By being non circular, the shapes prevent slipping from one rotational position to the next under load. Between 2 and 12 radial protrusions have been found to be practical, preferably 6 or 8 protrusions are provided. In addition or in the alternative to the previously described aspect of the invention there is provided in another aspect; a connector part pairing which enables connection in any of a plurality of relative displacements, two connectable elements where one of the connectable elements is optionally a connector module in the frame, a first of the two elements comprising; a multiple of equally spaced aligned slots or a multiple of equally spaced aligned anchors; and the second element comprising one of; one or more slots or one or more anchors whereby each slot or anchor of the first element is configured to engage securely with the one or more anchor or slots of the other element.

The above mentioned aspect has particular application in, for example (but without limitation) the connecting of a seat back or arm or leg rest support to a frame at any of a plurality of heights or distances from the seat base, or a headrest at any of a plurality of heights with respect to a backrest of a seat.

It will be appreciated that elements can be provided with anchors and slots on different parts of their surface to allow further interconnection with additional elements.

This aspect provides that two elements can be securely connected in any one of a number of overlapping positions, thus the length or height of an assembly of the interconnected pieces can be adjusted to suit the desired end purpose. It will be appreciated that the greater the combined total of anchors and slots as between any two connectable elements, the greater the number of possible adjustments between the two elements.

In one embodiment the anchors may comprise substantially "L" shaped hooks extending from a planar surface, the corresponding slots comprise longitudinal slots which my pass through a wall of the element or may comprise recesses having an "L" shaped cross section of similar dimensions to the "L" shaped hooks and into which the hooks can be located. In another embodiment, the anchors may comprise resiliently compressible nodes and the corresponding slots have a width dimension which is slightly less than the maximum dimension of the uncompressed node such that the nodes can be press fit into the slots.

Other connecting pair configurations can be envisaged, for example one of a connector part pair may comprise a protruding limb or rail of substantially round cross section and the other may comprise a substantially arcuate notch or groove of substantially arcuate cross section suitably proportioned to snugly receive the limb or rail.

Within a kit, all parts are arranged for modular connection and so connector parts of similar type share the same shape and dimensions on all elemental parts in which they are incorporated. By providing a kit of components having similarly shaped and spaced anchors and slots; or protrusions and orifices/recesses on their engaging surfaces, multiple parts can be easily interchanged to build bespoke equipment.

For example (but without limitation) if the kit is for a seat for hospital applications, the kit may comprise a single frame incorporating a standard arrangement of connection modules, a single leg rest support and a single arm rest support and then multiples of seat base, backrest, armrest and/or headrest elemental parts which can be interchanged and arranged at desired angular orientations and/or displacements relative to the standard frame. The frame may be adapted to receive additional removable connector parts which can be used for the connection of additional equipment to the seat, for example (but without limitation), a frame for carrying an IV or fluid collection bag, a hoist, a lamp, a patient monitor and the like.

This invention allows a modular system that uses a common capability to place add and remove components from each other. The system can be applied to any suitable product such as a bed, chair, hoist, crane, platform, car seat, vehicle desk, workbench, childcare equipment and any other aspect that would be required for its fitment.

In one aspect the present invention provides a kit for assembly into one or more articles having a plurality of different configurations, optionally being configurable and/or re-configurable according to requirements of a user, and optionally without requiring tools, the kit comprising a frame and a plurality of elemental parts for connection to the frame, the frame comprising a plurality of connection modules, each having a connector part, and each elemental part comprising one or more connector parts which are configured for connection with one or more connector parts of one or more of the connector modules in any of a plurality of configurations, optionally with different angular orientations and/or relative displacements, wherein all of the connector parts are configured such that a secure connection can be achieved between an elemental part and one or more connector modules of the frame. In one embodiment one or more elemental parts comprise a plurality of connection parts, optionally identical connection parts which are spatially aligned.

In one embodiment one or more of the elemental parts further comprise one or more additional connector parts for connecting with additional elemental parts having complimentary connector parts, the connector parts comprising pairings which enable connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations and/or with relative linear displacements.

In one embodiment the frame and the elemental parts together assemble to provide a plurality of chair configurations, and additional elemental parts provide ancillary features to the assembled chair.

In one embodiment the connecting elemental parts comprise one or more of a seat base, a seat back rest and support limbs to which additional elemental parts can be directly connected.

In one embodiment the additional elemental parts comprise one or more of adjustable arm rests, adjustable leg rests and adjustable head rests.

In one embodiment the frame comprises a wheeled base.

In one embodiment the frame and the elemental parts incorporate mutually-compatible electrical and/or data carrier connectors, enabling the assembled article further to incorporate equipment selected from electronic sensors, monitors, data receivers and transmitters, controllers, wifi receivers and transmitters, LED lighting, capacitors, circuit boards, and wiring looms for connecting external electrically-operated equipment.

In one embodiment the frame, or at least a part thereof, has a substantially U-shaped cross section into which a plurality of connector modules can be fitted.

In one embodiment the connector modules are configured to friction fit into the U- shaped frame. In another embodiment the connector modules are permanently fixed, optionally adhered, to an inner surface of the U-shaped frame.

In one embodiment the frame includes a plurality of separators, pairs of which, within the U-shaped frame, define a chamber into which a connector module can be received.

In one embodiment the frame incorporates locking members, optionally locking handles, which can overlap a surface of a connector module when located in the frame and are secured in receiving elements, optionally clips, clamps or hooks, which are incorporated in the frame, thereby to hold the connector module in position.

In one embodiment all connector parts of similar type share the same shape and dimensions on all elemental parts in which they are incorporated.

In one embodiment the kit is for a seat, optionally for hospital applications, and comprises a single frame which incorporates a defined arrangement of connection modules, a single leg rest support and a single arm rest support and a plurality of seat base, back rest, arm rest and/or head rest elemental parts which can be interchanged and arranged in desired configurations, optionally at different angular orientations and/or linear displacements, relative to the frame.

In one embodiment the frame is configured to receive additional removable connector parts which enable connection of additional equipment to the seat.

In one embodiment the frame and the connecting elemental parts together assemble to form a plurality of bed configurations, optionally for hospital applications, and additional elemental parts provide optional ancillary features to the assembled bed.

In another embodiment the frame and the connectable elemental parts together assemble to form a plurality of hoist configurations, optionally for hospital applications, and additional elemental parts provide optional ancillary features to the assembled hoist.

In one embodiment the kit further incorporates one or more motorised actuators to permit orientational and/or spatial adjustments of elemental parts of an assembled kit. In another preferred aspect the present invention provides a connector part pairing, such as for use in the above-described kit, which enables connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations, wherein the connector part pairing comprises two connectable elements, one of the connectable elements comprising a non-circular, radially-symmetrical shaped feature and the other connectable element comprising a non-circular, radially-symmetrical shaped feature which is dimensioned to receive the non-circular, radially-symmetrical shaped feature of the one connectable element in any of two or more rotational orientations.

In one embodiment the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped feature on the one element comprises a protrusion and the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped feature on the other element comprises an aperture, optionally a recess or orifice.

In one embodiment the non-circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion comprises two or more radial protrusions emanating from a centre, optionally of similar proportion, with each of the radial protrusions representing a different possible angular orientation.

In one embodiment the number of radial protrusions is from 2 to 12, preferably from 6 to 8.

In one embodiment at least one of the two elements further comprises a resiliently- flexible, live hinge which is arranged, in use, to be re-positionable against the non- circular, radially symmetrical shaped protrusion, thereby to hold the protrusion in place within the recess or orifice.

In one embodiment the live hinge is configured to be held in a fixed position by a fastener which is integrally formed with or otherwise fixed to one of the elements.

In one embodiment the fastener is a clamp, clip or hook fastener.

In one embodiment one of the connectable elements is formed in a connector module in the frame. In a further preferred aspect the present invention provides a connector part pairing, such as for incorporation in the above-described kit, which enables connection in a plurality of relative displacements, optionally linear displacements, wherein the connector part pairing comprises two connectable elements, one of the connectable elements comprising a plurality of equi-spaced aligned slots or equi-spaced aligned anchors, and the other connectable element comprising one or more slots or anchors, whereby one or more slots or anchors of the one element are configured to engage securely with one or more anchors or slots of the other element.

In one embodiment one of the connectable elements is provided in a connector module in the frame.

In one embodiment the anchors comprise substantially L-shaped hooks extending from a surface, optionally a planar surface, of one element, and the corresponding slots comprise longitudinal slots which pass through a wall of the other element or recesses having an L-shaped cross section of similar dimension to the L-shaped hooks of the one element and into which the hooks can be located.

In another embodiment the anchors comprise resiliently-compressible nodes and the corresponding slots have a width dimension which is slightly less than a maximum dimension of the uncompressed node, such that the nodes can be press fit into the slots.

In a still further preferred aspect the present invention provides an article, optionally a load-bearing article, formed using the above-described kit or incorporating one or more of the above-described connector part pairings.

In one embodiment the article is a chair, seat, bed, platform or hoist, optionally re- configurable, and optionally for medical, dental, beauty therapy, office or vehicular application.

In a yet further preferred aspect the present invention provides a method of forming an article, optionally a load-bearing article, using the above-described kit or incorporating one or more of the above-described connector part pairings, optionally without use of any tools. In one embodiment the article is a chair, seat, bed, platform or hoist, optionally re- configurable, and optionally for medical, dental, beauty therapy, office or vehicular application.

Various aspects of an embodiment of a modular chair kit in accordance with the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 illustrates a frame into which a modular seat base, arm rest, legrest and seat back have been connected.

Figure 2 illustrates a longitudinal section through the frame of Figure 1.

Figure 3 illustrates an orthogonal section of the frame of Figures 1 and 2 showing its U shaped cross section.

Figure 4 illustrates another orthogonal section of the frame of Figure 3 incorporating a different connector module.

Figure 5 illustrates one view of the armrest support limb of Figure 1 connected to a connector part of the frame.

Figure 6 illustrates a second view of the armrest support limb of Figure 1 aligned for connection to a connector module of the frame.

Figure 7 illustrates a plan view of the armrest support limb of Figure 1

Figure 8 illustrates a support limb for an anterior hand grip of Figure 1.

Figure 9 illustrates the armrest of Figure 1.

Figure 10 illustrates the anterior hand grip of Figure 1.

Figure 11 illustrates a handle engaged to secure a connector part in the frame of Figure 1. Figure 12 illustrates an intermediate connector for connection between a connector module of the frame and a backrest

Figure 13 illustrates a backrest in position on an intermediate connector of Figure 12.

Figure 14 illustrates a connector part of a backrest for connecting to the intermediate connector of Figure 12.

Figure 15 illustrates an alternative backrest exhibiting a different connector.

Figure 16 illustrates a plan view of an embodiment of a partially assembled chair kit of the invention.

Figures 17, 18 and 19 illustrate three alternative elemental seat parts for a chair kit in accordance with the invention.

Figure 20 illustrates an elemental part of a chair kit in accordance with the invention which is configured for receiving a bed pan.

Figure 21 illustrates a seat connected to a frame in a chair kit in accordance with invention.

Figure 22 illustrates a bed segment connected to a bed frame/cot side from a bed kit in accordance with the invention

Figure 23 illustrates a hoist sling and frame assembly from a hoist kit in accordance with invention.

Figure 1 shows schematically a chair 1 assembled from a kit in accordance with the present invention. The chair has a frame 5 carried optionally carried on a pair of base struts (or a base plate) 3 which carries wheels or casters 4. The frame 5 typically comes in two side supports, a cross section of one of which is shown in Figure 2. A seat base 6 is secured to the two side supports using connecting parts as herein further described. The chair further comprises a backrest 7, also secured to the two side supports, and an anterior handgrip 2 which connects to a support frame or support limbs which connect directly to the frame 5 using connecting parts as herein further described. Finally the Figure shows an armrest 8 which connects to support limbs which connect directly to the frame 5 using connecting parts as herein further described. The handgrip 2 and armrest 8 are each connected to their respective support limbs/frame by a pair of connector parts which enable connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations (example arrangements of which are further described below in reference to subsequent figures). The backrest 7 may also be connected to the frame 5 by a pair of connector parts which enable connection in any of a plurality of angular orientations. The support limbs/support frame are configured to pair with connector parts on the frame 5, the pairings selected to enable connection in any of a plurality of relative linear displacements. Thus we have a chair wherein the distance of the armrest 8 and handgrip 2 from the frame 5 is adjustable and the orientation angle of the armrest 8 and handgrip 2 is adjustable. It will be appreciated that with use of appropriate connecting part pairs, the height of the seat base 6 and backrest 7 within the frame 5 can also be made adjustable, furthermore, the angular orientation of the seat base 6 and backrest 7 to the frame 5 can be made possible. Thus, even with the few parts referenced in Figure 1 , multiple seat configurations are possible. It is contemplated, however that there could be multiples of any or each of the backrest 7, armrest 8, handgrip 2 and seat base 6 suited to different needs but each using the same connector arrangements (i.e. same configurations and positions). This allows parts to be interchanged allowing even more seat configurations to be assembled from a kit.

Figure 2 illustrates a cross section of the frame 5 from Figure 1. As stated the frame comprises two side supports which become adjoined by a backrest and or seat base or cross support frame when the kit is assembled. The figure shows a section through a side support.

As can be seen in Figure 2 the frame is provided (conveniently, but not essentially, using an injection moulding method) to have along a substantial part of its length, an outer, bent wall 9 defining an open channel. Dotted lines 17 outline optional cross fins which extend across the channel. These cross fins 17 not only add strength to the frame but define compartments into which connector modules and other components and be housed. A number of connector parts 10, 1 1 , 12, 13, 14, 18 and 20 are shown schematically as contained within the channel defined by wall 9. Further detail and description of connector modules is given below with reference to subsequent Figures. The side support is provided with a closed flat foot or section 16 that can house at least one linear actuator for leg height adjustment of the seat. Block 15 represents what could be a separator block for holding other parts in the position within the channel defined by wall 9, a connector module for connecting to elemental parts (for example foot rests) or a housing for a linear and/or rotary actuator for controlling height adjustment of feet 16 with respect to the remainder of frame 5.

The feet 16 might incorporate some form of ridging or pebbling to prevent slippage of the feet against a floor. In another option, separate non slip foot covers might be positioned over the feet. In another alternative, as illustrated in Figure 1 , the frame is secured to a wheeled or castored base 3,4.

Figure 3 shows in closer detail a connector module 20 carried within the walled 9 chamber of the frame side support of Figure 2. As can be seen the wall 9 is substantially U shaped in cross section. Travelling longitudinally through the wall at a central point is ridge 21 , this could be designed into a single moulded piece or could, alternatively result from adjoining flashes of two moulded parts secured along the ridge to form the frame side support. Whilst not essential, the ridge 21 serves a useful purpose in reinforcing a joint along that line and also provides additional surface area and a useful keying surface for a bonding agent which can optionally be used to fix a connector module anchor 22 in place. The connector module anchor 22 is shown as having an optional stepped surface 29 to provide additional surface area for an adhesive. The connector module anchor 22 has two slightly angled ridges 28 which complement the shape of a pair of grooves of connector module 23. Connector module 23 is provided with a node 24 and recesses 25, 26, 27 to which complementing recesses and nodes of elemental parts can connect without the need for tooling. It is to be appreciated that the shape and arrangement of the nodes and recesses is given purely by way of example, these connector parts may take any of a number of shapes or orientations, it is only essential that elemental parts within the kit are provided with connector parts which are configured to engage with the connector parts of a connector module. Figure 4 shows in closer detail a connector module carried within the walled 9 chamber of the frame side support of Figure 2. In Figure 4, the connector module 33 comprises a handle having a gripping end 31 and an extended neck 34. In use the handle can be secured by engagement with clamps, clips or hooks on an elemental part or other surface of the frame side support 5.

Figures 5, 6, 7and 8 illustrate support limbs for connecting between the frame 5 and armrest 8, and frame 5 and handgrip 2 of Figure 1. Figure 5 shows a support limb 32 for an armrest 2. In addition to adjoining the armrest 2 and frame 5, support limb 32 can be used for attachment of multiple additional elemental parts as will be described later. It should be appreciated that whilst the support limb 32 is herein described as a support limb for an armrest 8, due to the modularity of the described kit and the inherent interchangeability of parts, it could be used as a support limb for a handgrip 2 or other elemental part.

Figure 5 shows the support limb 32 is made up of several features which make it able to hold its position and/or change its position in at least one axis without any mechanical moving parts. The support limb features an outlet 35 which opens into a main channel 42. The support limb comprises a connector part 37 in the form of an eight petal flower shaped protrusion, the significance of which is made clearer below when discussing subsequent figures. This may be one of a plurality of connector parts provided on an external surface of the support limb 32, but for simplicity just one is shown. The connector part 37 complements and is connectable with the shaped apertures 78 in the armrest and handgrip of Figures 9 and 10 respectively.

Whilst shown as an eight petal flower shaped protrusion, the connection part 37 can be any non-circular, radially symmetrical shape complementing the shape of apertures in engaging elemental parts.

The connector part 37 as shown has a two part axial protrusion comprising two protruding sections 36 and 174. It can be seen the undercut section 36 has a smaller diameter than the terminal section 174. Therefore when the sections 36 and 174 are used in conjunction with each other a circumferential channel is formed. The support limb has a further connector part in the form of a plurality of aligned, equally spaced hooks all facing the same orientation, including hook 40. Optional additional and similarly equally spaced aligned hooks of the same orientation are shown on the opposed edge of the support limb 32 and also in alignment with this second array of hooks is a hook 45 which is aligned but oppositely oriented, thereby defining a substantially C shaped channel with an adjacent aligned hook.

The support limb 32 features multiple equally spaced and aligned channels including channel 43 which extend from main channel 42. It will be noted that the spatial separation of these aligned channels is similar to that of the hooks 40. The aligned channels 43 terminate in an arcuate shaped portion which is proportioned to engage a node 44 of another connector part, in this case, most conveniently a connector part of a connector module in the frame 5 of Figure 1. The node 44 corresponds to node 24 as discussed in relation to Figure 3 above.

The support limb 32 has an inlet 41 aligned with outlet 35. The inlet 41 and outlet 35 are proportioned and/or shaped such that a node 44 can only enter or exit the channel 42 if the support limb is placed in a specific orientation with respect to node 44 (and hence frame 5 to which it is attached. Multiple support limbs may be provided in a kit each with an inlet and outlet such as 35, 41 which requires a different orientation for entry of node 44. The requirement for a specific entry and exit orientation is advantageous as it requires that the support limb 32 must be very deliberately manoeuvred to a specific orientation for its successful removal from the node 44. This avoids accidental disengagement of the support limb 32 from the frame 5.

The support limb 32 is connected to the frame 5 via node 44 as follows. The support limb 32 is oriented such that the node 44 can enter the inlet 41 to the channel 42. Once in the channel 42 the assembler can decide what height they require the support limb 32 to be with respect to the frame 5 (see Figure 6 and 7). It will be appreciated that a range of heights is achievable by engaging the node 44 in any of the aligned channels 43. Once an appropriate height is selected the support limb can be slid sideways with respect to node 44 until the node 44 engages in the arcuate shaped portion at the terminus of channel 43. Once the node is engaged in the arcuate shaped portion, the assembler rotates the support limb 32 and the profiles of the node 44 and the channel 43 interlock with at least one (and in this case two) clear points of contact, one towards a first side of the node 44 at the rear of the node 44 and a larger contact on a second side of the node 44, at the upper surface of the node 44. The shapes and configurations of the node 44 and channel 43 are desirably selected such that a "bump" type fit occurs, the "bump" noise or sensation indicating to the user that the node 44 and channel 43 are fully and securely engaged.

Once the support limb 32 is fully engaged, it will not be able to rotate or slide To provide further stability to the connection, with the node 44 fully engaged in the channel 43, hook 40 which is in line with the channel 43 engages the neck 34 of a handle (shown in a clearer view in Figure 4) provided on the frame 5.

As described in relation to other Figures, the neck 34 of the handle has a degree of flexibility such that an assembler, via the handle can apply force to the gripping knob 31 of the handle and move the neck 34. In this case the knob 31 and neck 34 are located in the frame 5 to enable them to align effectively with the hook position 40 when the support limb 32 is fully engaged.

With the support limb 32 is fully engaged and the hook 40 aligned with the neck 34 and corresponding gripping knob 31 , force is applied to knob 31 causing neck 34 to flex and lift in a generally vertical direction until the base of the neck 34 has cleared the top of the hook 40. Once the neck 34 clears the hook 40, application of further force to and re orientation of the knob 31 allows the assembler to move the stem over and into the channel defined by the hook 40, securing the support limb 32 against the frame 5 at a second fixture. As such, the height and horizontal position of the support limb 32 with respect to the frame 5 are secured. It will be appreciated by someone skilled in the art, by reversing the actions in the description above, the support limb 32 can be unlocked from the frame 5 and if desired, the height repositioned.

It will be appreciated that the support limb 32 shown is just one possible embodiment and not all features described and illustrated are essential for an elemental part in accordance with the kit of the invention. Alternative configurations might, for example provide that support limb 32 locates on the vertical axis for 44 to engage with the channel 43 and as such there is no requirement for the support limb to be angled for successful channel/node engagement. In another alternative, the channel 43 could be tapered and/or angled such that the opening of the channel 43 is larger at the first end (e.g. to the point where channel 43 meets channel 42) and smaller at the second end. This channel tapering could be advantageous to people with limited movement capabilities.

Figure 6 shows a side view of the support limb 32 and frame 5 as described in Figure 5. As can be seen, the connector part 37 with axial protrusion 36, 174 is located near the top of on side of the support limb 32 above the arrangement of channels 42, 43. The figure more clearly shows positioning of the main channel 42 with the inlet 41 and outlet 35. Dotted line 38 indicates an alignment position of node 44 with channel 42 and/or 43. This node can be the same as the node/connector 24 from figure 3

Figure 7 shows a plan view of the support limb 32 from Figures 5 and 6 securely connected to a connector module of frame 5 (Figure 1 ) by means of node 44.

As already discussed with reference to Figure 6 the node 44, channel 43 and the gripping knob 31 and neck 34 of the handle can be used to secure the position of the support limb against movement in two opposing directions along the frame 5. There is now described a means for restraint against separation of the support limb 32 from the frame 5. Channels 42 and 43 are designed such that the node 44 is captured as shown in the figures. Node 44 has at least two differential widths in the plan view, a first engages with the channel 42 or 43 is wider than the neck section 46 from which the node 44 protrudes. The channels 42 and 43 are shaped proportioned such that the inside of the channels 42 and 43 fits and encloses the protruding node 44 so that only the smaller neck section 46 exits the support limb 32.

This arrangement provides that there is an open channel 47 surrounding the neck 46 and connecting with channels 42 and 43. Thus node 44 enters the support limb 32 via inlet 41 , encapsulating node 44, resulting in support limb 32 being unable to move away from the frame 5, yet the support limb may still rotate freely and through 360 degrees about the axis of the node 44 and neck 46 at any given height in the main channel 42. So that height adjustment can be achieved without disengagement of the node 44 from channels 42, 43. The support limb is thus fixed in all required directions such that it is safe to use and will not move unless the locking systems that hold it are deliberately disengaged.

Figure 8 shows an alternative support limb configuration which differs from that of Figure 5 to 7 in that it is obliquely angled. The support limb shown incorporates comparable hooks 40 and channels 42, 43 which engage with a node 44 and frame 5 in the same way as already described for the support limb 32 of Figures 5 to 7. Whilst not intended to limit application of the shown support limb, it is particularly suited for attachment of a handgrip such as handgrip 2 of Figure 1 , a more detailed embodiment with is described in relation to Figure 10 below.

Figure 9 illustrates an armrest which can be attached to a support limb as described above in relation to Figures 5, 6, 7 and 8 in any of a plurality of angular orientations. The armrest corresponds to the armrest 8 of Figure 1 and has an arm supporting portion 76 and a connector part which consists of a flower shaped aperture 78 and a live hinge of flexible plastic material 77. Conveniently (but optionally) the live hinge is integrally formed with the arm supporting portion 76. It is to be note the live hinge 77 incorporates a curve which overlays a portion of the flower shaped aperture.

As can be seen the flower shaped aperture 78 has eight petals. The aperture 78 is able to be slotted over the complementing, eight petal flower shaped protrusion provided on the support limb already shown and described in more detail above in relation to Figures 5, 6, 7 and 8. It will be appreciated that the eight petals on the flower shaped connection parts provide that the armrest can be slotted onto the support limb (referenced 32 in Figures 5, 6 and 7) in any one of eight angular orientations. Once the aperture 78 is slotted onto the complementing protrusion, it is secured in position by the live hinge 77. As is visible from Figures 6 and 7, the protrusion 37 is further provided with an axial protrusion having a head 174 and a neck 36. To secure the armrest, the live hinge 77 is closed in front of the connected flower shaped parts and lodges behind the head 174, against the neck 36 of the axial protrusion, thereby preventing axial dislodgement of the armrest with respect to the support limb. The hinge 77 may, additionally be clipped clamped or hooked into place by a clip, clamp or hook arrangement provided on the underside of the arm support portion 76. Typically the arm support portion 76 is padded and could include a silicon type pad and is able to be integrally formed with the parts 77 and 78 as part of the manufacturing process or the parts may be manufactured as separate parts and as a separate step secured together to form the armrest.

Figure 10 shows an anterior handgrip which corresponds to the foot rest 2 of Figure 1 and connects with a handgrip support limb as shown and further described in relation to Figure 8 above. As with the armrest of Figure 9, the handgrip is provided with an eight petal flower shaped aperture 78 and a live hinge of flexible plastic material 77. Again, the live hinge 77 incorporates a curve which overlays a portion of the flower shaped aperture 78. The aperture 78 can be slotted over eight petal flowered protrusion 36, 37, 174 on the support limb of Figure 8. As with the armrest, the connection is secured by closing the live hinge 77 in front of the connected flower shaped parts and lodging it behind the head 174, against the neck 36 of the axial protrusion, thereby preventing axial dislodgement of the handgrip with respect to the support limb. The hinge 77 may, additionally be clipped clamped or hooked into place by a clip, clamp or hook arrangement provided on the gripping portion 79.

Figure 11 shows a connector module carried within the walled 9 chamber of the frame side support of Figure 2. The connector anchor is for the most part identical to the anchor 22 shown in Figure 3. In Figure 1 1 , the connector module 33 comprises a pair of arcuate recesses into which protruding connectors 89 of a support limb 82 (corresponding to the support limb 32 already shown and described in more detail in relation to Figure 5) can be axially slid. The connector anchor in this case incorporates an engagement channel behind portions 87 and 91 into which the extended neck 88 of a securing handle (also comprising a gripping knob 86) can be received. Reference numerals 84, 85 and 90 identify clips, clamps or hooks in which the handle 86, 88 can be more securely engaged. It will be appreciated that with the handle 86, 88 locked in position, any axial displacement of the connector parts 89 and hence the support limb 82 is prevented.

Figure 12 shows an intermediate connector for engaging between a frame side support (such as that referenced 5 in Figure 1 and a backrest (such as that referenced 7 in Figure 1 )). The intermediate connector is illustrated fitted in the frame side support in Figure 16 which is discussed in more detail below. The elemental part of Figure 12 typically (though not essentially) is formed in a single piece of plastics material. The material is selected such that in smaller cross sectional dimensions, it is able to be flexed by hand or foot pressure of an assembler, but in larger dimensions remains rigid under load. The elemental part shown has a core 175 from the centre of which protrudes a flower shaped protrusion 37, 36, 174 of identical construction to the protrusions already described in relation to Figures 5, 6 and 7 above. The dotted outline 93 identifies an alternative position for a flower shaped protrusion, or optionally, a second such protrusion could be incorporated here. Wings 94 extend from the core 175, the wings 94 incorporate rearward facing undulations also referred to herein as knuckles which are slideably received between corresponding knuckles (referenced 126 in Figure 16) on the frame side support 5. Fins 92 (which are better visible in Figure 13) fan out from the sides of the core 175 extending longitudinally along the core to the wings 94. The fins 92 can optionally be engaged in slots provided on the frame support 5. Arms 96 extend from each wing 94 and terminate in a handle 97. The arms 96 and wings 94 have a cross section which permits them to be flexed when hand pressure is applied to handles 97. The arms 96 each have an aperture 95, which can engage over a hook provided on the frame side support 5. The flexibility of the arms 96 and wings 94 of the plastic component enables it to be manoeuvred into the knuckles and over the engaging hooks of the frame side support 5. Pressure can be applied via handles 97 to engage the apertures 95 over the hooks. Dotted outline 102 represents a cavity within the back rest which could incorporate, for example (but without limitation) a motor, a seat warmer, actuatable back massage node or other useful electrical component. Fins 92 are optionally integrally formed with the core 175 but may alternatively be arranged to be slideably received in the walls of the core 175. The latter arrangement permits that, where the backrest is positioned on a curving part of the frame 5 (for example in a connector module 14 of the Figure 2), the fins 92 can be relatively linearly adjusted with respect to the core 75 to ensure support against the connector module (for example connector module 4) in the frame 5.

In Figure 3, the intermediate connector of Figure 12 can be seen rotated through 90 degrees. A back rest 176 connects to the intermediate connector's flower shaped protrusion 37, 36, 174 by means of a complementing flower shaped aperture. The core 175 is further engageable directly with a connector module on the frame side support 5 by means of a channel 103 which slips over a protrusion 105 of the frame side support 5. For example, the protrusion 105 could take the form of protrusion 24 of Figure 3.

Figure 14 illustrates a backrest 106 and a connector part for engaging with the protrusion 37, 36, 174 of the intermediate connector of Figure 12. The backrest incorporates an 8 petal flower shaped aperture 78 much like the apertures of the armrest and handgrip already described in relation to Figures 9 and 10 above. A small split can be seen adjacent one of the petals of the aperture 78 and this assists with opening and engagement of the aperture around the protrusion 37, 36, 174 as will now be described. An S shaped handle 109 extends from the aperture and terminates in a gripping knob 108. Behind the knob 108 are hooks 107 which are shown engaged behind protruding heads 1 11 extending from a side surface of the backrest 106. As with other described components, the handle section is desirably formed from a plastics material which when provided in suitably small cross sections is flexible under hand pressure but in larger sections remains rigid under load, and so smaller cross section parts can be manipulated into and out of engagement with the protruding heads 1 11 and serve as a live hinge. By applying pressure to the knob 108 the hooks 107 can be disengaged from the heads 11 1 and the handle 109 levered downwards whereby to open the aperture 78 (with the aid of the split already described above). Rather than being slotted directly over the protrusion 37, 36, 174 as has been described in relation to the armrest and handgrip of Figures 9 and 10, the aperture 78 in this elemental part is opened, wrapped around the periphery of the flower shaped protrusion and closed when the handle is re-engaged behind the heads 11 1.

Figure 15 shows an alternative backrest 1 2 making use of an alternative connector arrangement now described. The backrest includes a hinged handle having a gripping knob 1 14 and extended neck 17. Part way along the neck 1 17 is a cross piece 113. Again the handle section is desirably formed from a plastics material which when provided in suitably small cross sections is flexible under hand pressure but in larger sections remains rigid under load, and so having a smaller cross section the handle operates as a live hinge pivotal about the arcuate channel 1 8. Extending outwardly from the main body of the backrest 1 12 is a catch made up of a slot defined by a wall 1 15 supported by a ledge 1 16. When the handle 1 14, 1 13, 1 17 is engaged as shown in the Figure it defines, along with a cavity in the backrest 1 12 an aperture 119. The aperture 1 19 is shaped and proportioned to fit over a similarly shaped protrusion provided on the frame side support 5. Much as described in relation to Figure 14, the handle is disengaged by applying pressure to knob 114 and force the cross piece 1 13 out of the slot defined by wall 115. The hinge 1 18 then allows the aperture 119 to be opened on one side and slid over the complementing protrusion of the frame (not shown). The handle 1 14, 13, 1 17 is then closed to enclose the protrusion in aperture 1 19 and the cross piece 113 forcibly reengaged with the slot defined by wall 1 15 and the backrest is thus secured to the frame without the need for tooling.

Figure 16 shows a plan view of the frame 5 of Figure 1. Connected between the side supports of the frame 5 is a leg rest 120 the leg rest is optionally connected by means of flower shaped connectors substantially similar to those already described in relation to Figures 5 to 10, 12, 13 and 14 above. Alternatively, a more simple connection such as one between a node and recess as previously described might be used. An intermediate connector 124 for a backrest (having the configuration substantially as already described in relation to Figure 12 above) is connected to the frame 5 in complementing knuckles such as are shown on the opposite frame side support in the Figure and referenced 126. A ledge 125 closes the ends of the knuckle channels to prevent a connector from slipping through the knuckles, the frame can be seen to have multiple locking handles 121 , 122 for locking in connector modules much as already described in relation to Figures 4 and 1 1. Adjacent the flower shaped connectors 172 are optional rotors 171 which can be used to electronically adjust the angular orientation of the leg rest.

The figure also shows the frames 5 are connected by at least one connection rod 127 and the frame can feature at least one knuckle arrangement 128 in relation to the where the seat 6 from Figure 1 can locate. The knuckles 128 can be the same construction as those of 126. The knuckles 126 and 128 can conveniently be formed in the frame 5 at the point of manufacture. From a plan view as seen in the Figure, as the knuckles 126, 128 can be formed as a row of channels of arcuate (generally C shaped) cross section, though it will be appreciated that other cross sections can be used and the only necessity is that the cross section permits engagement of complementarily shaped knuckles 94 of the intermediate connector which are intended to engage with the knuckles 126. This arrangement provides a means of locking the intermediate connection discussed in Figure 12 to the frame 5 with the addition of the frame hooks which connect to the at least one aperture 95. As discussed in Figure 12, the multiple knuckles can be used on the frame 5 and as such the intermediate connector 124 is able to be moved along the frame 5 to adjust for a user.

The Figure also shows a shoulder 173, the shoulder 173 can be an arc and/or a taper which, in use, is configured to engage with a complementing bulge (not illustrated) on a seat such as the seat 6 of Figure 1. Such an arrangement assists in securing the seat 6 and the frame 5 in the correct orientation and position with respect to each other.

Figure 17 shows a first example of a seat elemental part 132, the seat incorporates an optional aperture 130 allowing the seat to be used as a commode. Nodes 131 and recesses 129 are provided for connection to complementing connector part recesses and nodes on a connector module of the frame 5 from Figure 1 , for example as illustrated and further described in relation to Figure 3 above. The seat 132 is positioned in the frame 5 much as is the seat 6 from Figure 1 .

Figure 18 shows a second example of a seat elemental part 133, 136, the seat incorporates an optional aperture 134. In a simple arrangement, the cover 133 can open and close manually allowing the seat to be used intermittently as a chair and commode. In a more complex arrangement, the seat is a raiser seat and part 136 houses multiple electromechanical parts which are operable to raise the seat surface 133 carrying an occupant from a sitting to standing position. Examples of such seats are described in earlier published patent publications of the Applicant's. Nodes 135 and recesses 137 are provided for connection to complementing connector part recesses and nodes on a connector module of the frame 5 from Figure 1 , for example as illustrated and further described in relation to Figure 3 above. The seat 133, 136 is positioned in the frame 5 much as is the seat 6 from Figure 1 .

Figure 19 shows a third example of a seat elemental part 143, the seat incorporates an optional aperture 139 allowing the seat to be used as a commode. This seat is optionally connectable to the frame via an intermediate connector in the form of L shaped part 140 having connector nodes 142 for engagement in complementing recesses of a connector module of the frame 5 from Figure 1. The bracket can be secured over a node 141 or instead of the node 141. The bracket 140 having connector 142 and/or the node 141 can be engaged in a recess of a connector module in the frame. 44 and 145 shows a reverse connector which could be engaged in a connector part substantially of the form of parts 140, 141 , 142 if provided on a connector module on the frame. It will also be appreciated that the connector 144 can engage with the frame knuckles 128 from Figure 16.

Optionally, a retractable pin 141 is passed through an aperture in the part 140 when they are secured, this provides an additional connecting mode for engagement in a recess of a connector module.

Reference numeral 138 points to a site where the seat may include an optional ring of LEDs encircling a commode aperture 139. The LEDs can be of assistance in helping users locate the commode aperture in hours of darkness and also in heating of the seat for the commode user. These LEDs can be a function of any of the seats from Figures 17 to 19 and the seats in these Figures can be the same as the seat 6 in Figure 1.

This seat configuration 143 can again be a raiser seat which raises as a whole and typically pivots about the axis of the connectors 141 and/or 145. Connector parts 141 and 145 can be associated with a shaft which exits the seat 143. Various mechanisms can be used to rotate the seat including a cam and more typically an actuator cam and/or a worm gear lift arrangement. Some suitable raiser seat mechanisms are already described in the Applicant's previously published patent applications.

Figure 20 illustrates an elemental part which is configured for receiving a bedpan. The part may, for example, be installed beneath a liftable seat so that a bedpan can be conveniently removed and replaced. The part comprises an outer rectangular perimeter 148 which can be fitted between frame side supports such as shown in Figures 1 to 4 by means of connector nodes 147 which could be engaged in complementing connector recesses on a connector module of the frame 5 from Figure 1 , for example as are referenced 23, 25 and 27 in Figure 3 above. A substantially ovoid support part 146 defines an aperture into which a bedpan can be received.

Figure 21 shows how a seat 6 can be attached to the frame 5 from Figure 1. In the figure only a part of the seat 6 is shown. The seat 6 engages with the frame 5 as has been described in Figures 17, 18 and 19. The seat 6 as illustrated is placed into the frame 5 generally towards the front of the frame and slid rearwardly towards a position where the backrest 7 will be located. Once the seat has been properly positioned in the frame 5, it must be retained.

An arm 152, extends from the seat 6. The arm has several functions and features, firstly the shaped and/profiled section 153. Section 153 as shown has a substantially square cross section although it should be appreciated other alternatives can be adopted. The section 153 extends upwardly to provide a neck 177 behind a gripping knob 154. The section 153 has at least one lip 150 which, as shown, extends orthogonally to the axis of section 153. The figure also shows a sectioned element 151 , the section 151 which corresponds to a connector part of the frame 5 and is a generally crescent shaped arm that protrudes from frame 5 and desirably features a step in its edge adjacent the frame 5.

As the seat 6 is located in the frame 5 as has been described, force is applied to gripping knob 154, arm 152 flexes and moves away from the frame 5 and towards the centre of the seat 6 (if looking in a plan view of the seat 6 and frame 5). Increased pressure on knob 154 increases the flexural movement of the arm 152 until the section 153 clears an outer edge of the protrusion 151 of the frame 5. The seat 6 is then slid such that instead of the section 153 being located in front of the protrusion 151 , it is located behind the protrusion 151 and lip 150 is now underneath the protrusion 151 as shown.

As the gripping knob is moved towards the frame 5 it encounters a notch (not shown) in the protrusion 151 which notch as a shape to complement the cross section of the section 153. Section 153 engages in the notch, locking the seat 6 to the frame 5. The lip 150 is aligned with the protrusion 151 such that downward force is applied to the flexural arm 152 and as such the arm 152 is constantly applying upward force to the protrusion 151. This force / flexural relationship with the section 153 engaged in the notch in the protrusion 151 is sufficient to lock the seat 6 in place in the frame 5. To reverse the process and remove the seat 6, a downward force is applied to the gripping knob 154 until the neck 177 is aligned with the already described notch in component 151. Due to the difference in proportions between the notch and the section 177, the arm 152 can be moved away from the frame 5 and back along the protrusion 151. Continued downward force and re-orientation is applied to gripping knob 154 until the sections 177, 153 and lip 150 are clear of the protrusion 151. The seat can then be disengaged and removed from the front of the frame 5.

The frame 5 can feature multiple differently positioned and aligned protrusions 151 permitting multiple different sized seats 6 to be engaged in the frame 5 and/or any one seat 6 to be positionally (for example height or depth) adjusted relative to the frame 5.

Figure 22 shows a bed section from a bed assembly kit in accordance with the invention. The bed section comprises a main section 156 and a top section 155 whereby the top section 155 is movable relative to the main section 156. The top section 155 is adjustable about two or more orthogonal axes allowing small adjustments to relive pressure on an occupant with restricted mobility. In addition the entire section 155, 156 may be rotatable to adjust an angle of inclination of a part a bed occupant (for example from lying to sitting, or to raise legs. The relative movement of the top section 155 can be achieved through rotary or linear actuators (not shown) that are typically located within the body of the main section 156.

The main section further features nodes 157 and recesses 178 that are provided for connection to complementing connector part recesses and nodes. In this case they are provided in order to attach other elemental parts of the kit and/or additional equipment to the main section 156.

A locking system broadly similar to that described in relation to Figure 1 can be used to secure the location of the cot-side relative to the bed section 156 via connector nodes 158. The cot-side 161 can features a mechanism 160 which is a rotary actuator can be either manual or electronic and serves to rotate the cot-side 161 around the axis of the connection 179 and/or mechanism 160. The cot-side 161 can be rotated through 180 degrees in the vertical plane, for example, rotate anti clockwise through the 180 degrees from its vertical orientation illustrated in the figure. It will be appreciated that in both rotational cot-side movements as described, the cot-side can be stopped and held at any angle as per user requirements. This is advantageous such as in allowing the cot-side to be used as a slide-board to assist with patient transfers. The cot-side 161 features a further mechanism 159 which is a linear and/or rotary actuator and can be manual or electronic. In the case of the mechanism being a linear actuator, the linear actuator is configured linearly to move the section 161 , toward and away from sections 156 and 155. In the case of the actuator being a rotary actuator, the mechanism is configured to rotate the section 61 about the axis of the connection 159 and where the mechanism has both linear and rotary actuation functions, combinations of these movements can occur.

Whilst the elemental part 161 shown is described as a cot side, similar connection and actuation mechanisms may be used in relation to other parts, for example (but without limitation) a drip stand unit, a further bed section, a defibrillator, a syringe driver, a peristaltic pump, a patient monitor, a control system, a visual display screen, a bedside cabinet, a touchless control system or interface, a touch control system or interface, a mattress holding and/or location element, a mattress tensioning system, a patient table, or other such useful components, assemblies and/or equipment and devices.

It will also be appreciated that the recesses 178 or nodes 157 could allow for other devices, equipment, components and assemblies to be additionally attached to the unit 161 as described. The recesses 178 and nodes 157 can also be used to connect with other bed sections having complementing connector parts. In this example, if a user wanted to add a bed section to the bed section 156 they could simply connect the further bed section one or more of the recesses 178 and/or nodes 157. By way of further example, the recess and node connector system described can be used for connecting a modular rail system, hoists and/or chairs or sections of hoists/chairs to the bed section 156.

It will be appreciated that this shows the bed to be a platform for any different devices, equipment, components and assemblies to be attached and used in conjunction with the at least one bed section 156.

Figure 23 shows a hoist section 162 which again features connecting nodes 170 and recesses 163. In the example illustrated, a visual display unit 169 is connected to the hoist section 162. The visual display 169 can feature nodes which engage with recesses 166 on the underside of the hoist section 162. Visual display 169 as shown features a mechanism 168. The mechanism 168 is a rotary actuator (which can be manually or electrically operated) that is arranged for rotating the visual display 169 around the axis of connection 180 and/or the mechanism 168 can rotate the visual display through 180 degrees in the vertical plane much as described for the cot-side 161 in Figure 22 above.

It will be appreciated the visual display 169 can be stopped and held at any angle as per user requirements. The visual display 169 also features mechanism 167 which can be a manually or electronically operated linear and/or rotary actuator. In the case of the mechanism being a linear actuator, the linear actuator is arranged linearly to move the visual display 169 away from or toward the section 162. In the case of the actuator being a rotary actuator, the mechanism is arranged to rotate the visual display 169 about the axis of the connection 180. Where the mechanism has both linear and rotary actuation functions, combinations of these movements can occur.

Whilst the elemental part 169 is described here as a visual display unit, it will be appreciated that similar connection and actuation mechanisms can be used to connect other parts for example (but without limitation), a drip stand unit, a further hoist section, a defibrillator, a syringe driver, a peristaltic pump, a patient monitor, a control system, a bedside cabinet, a touchless control system or interface, a touch control system or interface, a mattress holding and/or location element, a mattress tensioning system, a patient table attachment, a robotic end effectors (including mechanical hands) or other such components, assemblies and/or equipment and devices.

Furthermore, the recesses 170, 166 and nodes 163 or nodes could allow for additional devices, equipment, components and assemblies to be attached. The recesses 170 and nodes 163 may used to attach additional hoist sections 162. Further examples could include the connection of a modular rail system, such rail sections can be found to be advantageous inpatient rehabilitation, and connection to a bed and/or chair or sections of a bed and/or chair.

The hoist section 162 can serve as a platform for a wide variety of different devices, equipment, components and assemblies to be attached and used in conjunction with the at least one hoist section 162. By way of one example, nodes 163 are shown engaged in complementing slots of a connector part 164 carrying a sling 165. It will be appreciated that the sling section 165 can be connected at both sides of the hoist section 162 and not just at one side of the hoist section 162 as shown for description convenience and figure clarity.

Citations de brevets
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GB266973A * Titre non disponible
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Citations hors brevets
Référence
1None
Classifications
Classification internationaleA61G5/12, A61G13/12, A47C7/00, A61G7/075
Classification coopérativeA61G13/1205, A61G5/12, A61G7/075
Classification européenneA61G7/075, A61G5/12, A61G13/12A
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