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Mobile device holder

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Abstract: A mobile device holder includes a holding portion having a pair of opposed holding portion arms, a lower edge at a base of the holding portion, an upper pivot assembly affixed to the holding portion and configured to pivot about an upper axis extending through a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, a lower pivot assembly affixed to the upper pivot assembly and configured to pivot about a lower axis generally perpendicular to the upper axis, and a base affixed to the lower pivot assembly, wherein the holding portion, lower edge and upper pivot assembly are pivotable about the lower axis relative to the base.



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The Patent Description data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140091192 , Mobile device holder

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Disclosure

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure relates to the field of mobile device holders. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to mobile device holder configured to hold mobile devices of different dimensions and orientations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

2. Background Information

Smartphones and other electronic mobile devices have become increasingly popular for managing multiple aspects of one's daily life. One such aspect is shopping. For example, shoppers have increasingly been using electronic mobile devices to manage shopping lists or to otherwise enhance the shopping experience. As such, a need has arisen for a system to not only hold, but to display the screen of such mobile devices to the shopper, so that the shopper can safely push a shopping cart while still being able to view the device. One such system is disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/978,768 the entire contents of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

Holders attachable to shopping carts and designed to hold articles such as beverages, coupons, pens, and the like are known in the art; however, many of such devices are attachable to shopping cart handles, which interferes with the nesting of the shopping carts and wasting floor space.

Some electronic devices have been provided to enhance the shopping experience by displaying, e.g., store and/or product information and electronic coupons, on a proprietary display device integral to the shopping cart; however, such integral electronic devices require the shopper to upload his/her shopping list to this display device (or do not allow for such uploading at all), thereby inconveniencing the shopper.

In view of the above, a need has arisen for a diverse mobile device holder configured to hold mobile devices.

According to a non-limiting feature of the disclosure, provided is a mobile device holder which may include a holding portion having a pair of opposed holding portion arms, a shelf at a base of the holding portion, an upper pivot assembly affixed to the holding portion and configured to pivot about an upper axis extending through a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, a lower pivot assembly affixed to the upper pivot assembly and configured to pivot about a lower axis generally perpendicular to the upper axis, and a mount affixed to the lower pivot assembly, wherein the holding portion, shelf and upper pivot assembly are pivotable about the lower axis relative to the mount.

The upper axis may perpendicularly extend through the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms. Also, each arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms may be a generally U-shaped channel or may be generally L-shaped.

Also provided may be a ramp depending from the shelf, and the ramp may depend from the shelf from an opposite side of the shelf as the pair of opposed holding portion arms. The ramp may be generally V-shaped and/or may depend from the shelf at an angle oblique to the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms.

Further, the mount may be attachable to a collapsible basket or other part of a shopping cart.

The mobile device holder may further include a front section and a rear section defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, wherein one of the front section and the rear section is open. Also, the other of the front section and the rear section may be generally closed.

Also provided may be an arm spring connected to one holding portion arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms, the arm spring configured to bias the mobile device toward the other holding portion arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms.

Further provided may be a pair of arm springs respectively connected to the pair of opposed holding portion arms such that the pair of arm springs inwardly biases the pair of opposed holding portion arms toward each other.

A spring assembly insertable between the pair of opposed holding portion arms may be provided, the spring assembly comprising the pair of arm springs. Also, the pair of arm springs may be a pair of tape springs.

At least one wall of both holding portion arms of the pair of opposed holding portion arms may extend in a direction oblique to the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms. The pair of opposed holding portion arms may be parallel. A support shaft affixing the lower pivot assembly to the upper pivot assembly may also be provided.

The support shaft may include a bend dividing the support shaft into upper and lower ends, the upper end and lower end in parallel, and the support shaft aligns a pivot axis of the upper pivot assembly with a center of an axial length of the lower pivot assembly.

In an aspect, the upper pivot assembly provides for the pivoting of the holding portion between a range of approximately 0 degrees and approximately 90 degrees.

Also provided may be an expansion holding portion removably insertable in the holding portion, the expansion holding portion having a pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion walls configured be removably held between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, a body depending from each inner expansion holding portion wall of the pair of expansion holding portion walls, a first support depending from the body, a second support depending from an opposite side of the body as the first support, wherein the first and second support are configured to hold a mobile device therebetween.

The first support and second support may extend parallel to each other and in a direction parallel to a direction in which the pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion walls extends. Also, at least one of the first support and second support may be resiliently biased toward the body.

Further, the first support may have a pair of first prongs on opposite sides of the pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion walls, and the second support may have a pair of second prongs on opposite sides of the pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion walls, wherein the first and second pair of prongs are configured to hold a mobile device therebetween.

Also, at least one of the pair of first prongs and the pair of second prongs may be slidable toward the other of the pair of first prongs and the pair of second prongs, such that a distance between the pair of first prongs and the pair of second prongs may be adjustable. Both the pair of first prongs and the pair of second prongs may be slidable toward each other.

A prong spring configured to inwardly bias the at least one of the pair of first prongs and the pair of second prongs may be provided, such that a distance between the pair of first prongs and the pair of second prongs is narrowed. Also, the prong spring may be a tape spring.

The body may have a central lower contact having an irregularly-shaped surface, and an underside of the shelf may have a complimentary irregularly-shaped surface configured to matchingly engage with the irregularly-shaped surface of the body when the expansion holding portion may be inserted in the holding portion.

Also provided may be a mobile device holder having a holding portion, a pair of opposed holding portion arms each attached to an opposite side of the holding portion, a shelf affixed to a base of the holding portion and configured to support a mobile device, an upper pivot assembly affixed to the holding portion and configured to pivot the holding portion about an upper axis extending through a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, a mount affixed to the pivot assembly, an edge ramp depending from the shelf, a lower pivot assembly connected to the upper pivot assembly and configured to pivot about a lower axis generally perpendicular to the upper axis, wherein the holding portion, the pair of opposed holding portion arms, the ramp and the lower edge are pivotable together about the lower axis relative to the mount.

Also, the holding portion, mount and edge ramp may be integrally unitarily formed.

Each holding portion arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms may have an engagement portion configured to engage the mobile device, and a wing portion depending from the engagement portion in a direction away from the holding portion.

The wing portion may generally form a 90 degree angle with the engagement portion. The mobile device holder may also include a magnet configured to magnetically engage the mobile device. Also provided may be padding affixed to each holding portion arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms, the padding configured to engage the mobile device.

At least one holding portion arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms may be slidable along a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, such that a distance between the pair of opposed holding portion arms is adjustable.

Also provided may be a spring configured to inwardly bias the at least one holding portion arm slidably along the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, such that a distance between the pair of opposed holding portion arms is narrowed.

The pair of opposed holding portion arms may be slidable along a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, such that a distance between the pair of opposed holding portion arms is adjustable. Also provided may be a spring configured to inwardly bias the pair of holding portion arms slidably along the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, such that a distance between the pair of opposed holding portion arms is narrowed.

Also, the mount may have a pair of vertical arms, and the lower pivot assembly may have a rotation shaft supported between the pair of vertical arms and pivotable about the lower axis. Each vertical arm of the pair of vertical arms may have a protruding bumper.

According to another aspect, a shopping cart may include a main basket, a secondary basket configured to swing upward relative to the main basket when the shopping cart is nested with another shopping cart, and a mobile device holder having, a holding portion having a pair of opposed holding portion arms, a lower edge at a base of the holding portion, an upper pivot assembly affixed to the holding portion and configured to pivot about an upper axis extending through a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, a lower pivot assembly affixed to the upper pivot assembly and configured to pivot about a lower axis generally perpendicular to the upper axis, and a base affixed to the lower pivot assembly and attached to the secondary basket, wherein the holding portion, lower edge and upper pivot assembly are pivotable about the lower axis relative to the base.

Also provided may be a handle for pushing the shopping cart, wherein the mobile device holder further may have a ramp depending from the lower edge such that when the secondary basket swings upward, the ramp may be engageable with the handle to pivot the holding portion, the ramp and the lower edge are pivotable about the lower axis relative to the base.

According to another aspect, provided may be a mobile device holder having a holding portion, a pair of opposed holding portion arms each attached to an opposite side of the holding portion and configured to hold a mobile device therebetween, at least one holding portion arm of the pair of opposed holding portion arms being slidable along a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, such that a distance between the pair of opposed holding portion arms is adjustable, a shelf affixed to a base of the holding portion, and a mount affixed to the base.

Further provided may be an upper pivot assembly affixed to the holding portion and configured to pivot the holding portion about an upper axis extending through the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms.

Still further provided may be a lower pivot assembly connected to the mount and configured to pivot about a lower axis extending parallel to the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, wherein the holding portion, the pair of opposed holding portion arms, and the lower edge are pivotable together about the lower axis relative to the mount.

Additionally provided may be an upper pivot assembly affixed to the holding portion and configured to pivot the holding portion about an upper axis extending through a plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion arms, and a lower pivot assembly connected to the upper pivot assembly and configured to pivot about a lower axis generally perpendicular to the upper axis, wherein the holding portion, the pair of opposed holding portion arms, and the lower edge are pivotable together about the lower axis relative to the mount.

Other exemplary embodiments and advantages of the present invention may be ascertained by reviewing the present disclosure and the accompanying drawings, and the above description should not be considered to limit the scope of the present invention.

In view of the foregoing, the present disclosure, through one or more of its various aspects, embodiments and/or specific features or sub-components, is thus intended to bring out one or more of the advantages as specifically noted below.

The particulars shown herein are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the embodiments of the present invention only and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the present invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the present invention in more detail than is necessary for the fundamental understanding of the present invention, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the present invention may be embodied in practice.

Referring now to the drawings wherein like characters represent like elements, show a mobile device holder according to the first aspect of the present disclosure. As used herein, “mobile device” can mean any mobile device, including but not limited to a tablet computer (such as, e.g., an iPad), a smartphone (such as, e.g., a Blackberry, iPhone, Android), personal digital assistant (PDA), a global positioning satellite (GPS) device, a portable music player (such as, e.g., an iPod), an e-reader, a palmtop computer, a laptop computer, a wireless/cellular telephone, a camera, a pager, a personal trusted device, a portable video game system, and a web appliance (such as, e.g., an iPod Touch). Nor is the present invention limited to electronic devices, e.g., a notepad or coupon book may be used with the present invention.

In a non-limiting aspect, the mobile device holder includes a holding portion , an upper pivot assembly , a lower pivot assembly and a mount (also called a “base”) for affixing the mobile device holder to a pivotable secondary basket of a shopping cart , as shown in, e.g., . The holding portion optionally includes a shelf and a pair of opposed holding portion arms (also referred to as holding portion channels) , which are aligned with each and extend in the direction of insertion of a mobile device (i.e., when inserted from the top T of the holder ). Although the figures show the holding portion channels , as four-sided and U-shaped (to secure a mobile device on three sides), those skilled in the art would appreciate that the holding portion channels each can have any suitable number of sides and any suitable configuration, e.g., V-shaped or L-shaped (to secure a mobile device on two sides), although it is noted that having a front channel segment helps prevent the mobile device from falling out of the holding portion toward the user. In the U-shaped channel arrangement, the mobile device is inserted into the top T of the device holder , while in the L-shaped channel arrangement, the mobile device may be inserted into either the top or the front of the device holder.

The mobile device holder preferably has an open front end section to facilitate the user's contact with the keys and/or touchscreen of a mobile device, although it is understood by those of skill in the art that one or more crossbars connecting the holding portion channels , may be provided to further secure a mobile device to the mobile device holder . Although the figures show the holding portion as having a closed rear section , it is understood that the rear section may have one or more openings (e.g., to save weight or cost of materials), including but not limited to perforations, latticework, crossbars and like.

Optionally provided may be a spring assembly inserted in the holding portion , the spring assembly including a pair of springs configured to engage the edges of a mobile device inserted into the holder. Specifically, the springs are inwardly biased to prevent vertical displacement of a mobile device from the top T of the holder . Although the figures show leaf springs, other suitable biasing mechanisms may be employed, such as coil springs and elastomers. Also, although the figures show a pair of (two) springs, those skilled in the art would appreciate that fewer or more than two springs may be used to the same effect of retaining a mobile device. It is noted that according to an aspect of the disclosure, the spring assembly may be formed of a material that is more flexible than the material of which the holding portion is formed. For example, the spring assembly may be rubberized, a flexible plastic or rubber material, elastomerically-coated metal, or any other suitable material, whereas the holding portion may be formed of a hard plastic or rigid metal material to protect the mobile device held therein. Although the figures show the spring assembly as having a closed rear section , it is understood that the rear section may have one or more openings (e.g., to save weight or cost of materials), including but not limited to perforations, latticework, crossbars and like, and that these openings can align with any openings in the back of the holding portion .

As shown in, e.g., , the mobile device holder is preferably attachable to a pivotable secondary basket of a shopping cart . The secondary basket of a shopping cart is typically positioned in front of the end gate and within the main basket . In the shopping art, a folding child seat may be positioned between the secondary basket and the end gate , such that the child seat may be folded when the secondary gate is pulled toward the cart pusher/shopper and against the end gate to make more room for items in the main basket . This arrangement also allows for the end gate , folding child seat and secondary basket to pivot together toward the front of the shopping cart when another shopping cart is nested with the shopping cart, as shown in . By mounting the mobile device holder to the top of the secondary basket , nesting of the shopping carts is still possible, since the end gate , folding child seat and secondary basket pivot together, thereby conserving floor space.

According to a non-limiting embodiment, the upper pivot assembly is affixed to a rear of the holding portion and pivots about upper axis Pu (shown in ) such that the mobile device held in the holding portion can rotate between a portrait and landscape position, i.e., the upper axis perpendicularly extends through the plane defined between the pair of opposed holding portion channels , . The upper pivot assembly is held together and affixed to the holding portion by screws and rivets although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that other affixing devices may be used.

It is preferred that the upper pivot assembly rotate the holding portion about the upper axis Pu in a range of 0-90 degrees, although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that the holding portion can rotate within a greater or narrower range (e.g., by 180 degrees so that the mobile device can be rotated between portrait, left landscape and right landscape, or by 360 degrees for full rotation). The rotation of the upper pivot assembly is facilitated by upper pin sliding within and guided by upper groove , and it is noted that the length of the groove about the circumference of the upper pivot assembly dictates the range of motion of the holding portion relative to the upper pivot assembly. Further, a spring may be used to facilitate the pivoting of the upper pivot assembly by, e.g, biasing the upper pivot assembly in a predetermined direction. Although the illustrated upper pivot assembly is shown as rotating within a single plane and about a single axis, those skilled in the art would appreciate that the upper pivot assembly can rotate within multiple planes and about multiple axes using, e.g., a ball-and-socket or other suitable configuration.

The upper pivot assembly and a lower pivot assembly are connected to each other by a support shaft . The support shaft may include three sections, namely an upper end affixed to the upper pivot assembly , a lower end affixed to the lower pivot assembly and a bend connecting the upper end to the lower end. In a non-limiting embodiment, the bend offsets the upper end and lower end so that they extend in parallel. This arrangement of the bend , upper end and lower end allow the support shaft to aligns the pivot axis of the upper pivot assembly with a center of an axial length of the lower pivot assembly (in other words, the diameter of the upper pivot assembly is aligned with the length of the lower pivot assembly by positioning the upper pivot assembly directly over the lower pivot assembly), as shown in , thereby keeping the width of the device to a minimum and saving space.

The lower pivot assembly is affixed to the base and pivots about lower axis P (shown in ) thereby rotating the support shaft , upper pivot assembly and holding portion together. Thus, the mobile device holder allows the mobile device to be pivoted to adjust the viewing angle of the mobile device to accommodate the view of users of varying heights or to pivot the mobile device out of the way when, e.g., the shopping cart is transporting a child in child seat (to keep the mobile device and/or the mobile device holder out of reach of the seated child) or nesting shopping carts (as further described below). The lower pivot assembly is held together by screws although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that other affixing devices may be used. Also, the lower pivot assembly is shown as being unitarily constructed with the mount , although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that other ways of joining the lower pivot assembly with the base may be used.

It is preferred that the lower pivot assembly rotate the support shaft , upper pivot assembly and holding portion about the lower axis P in a range of 0-120 degrees, although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that the lower pivot assembly can provide for rotation within a greater or narrower range. The rotation of the lower pivot assembly is facilitated by lower pin sliding within and guided by lower groove , and it is noted that the length of the groove about the circumference of the lower pivot assembly dictates the range of motion of the support shaft , upper pivot assembly and holding portion relative to the base . Further, a spring may be used to facilitate the pivoting of the lower pivot assembly by, e.g, biasing the lower pivot assembly in a predetermined direction. Although the illustrated lower pivot assembly is shown as rotating within a single plane and about a single axis P, those skilled in the art would appreciate that the upper pivot assembly can rotate within multiple planes and about multiple axes using, e.g., a ball-and-socket or other suitable configuration.

In an embodiment (as shown, e.g, in ) the mount is mounted to the shopping cart using a mounting bracket secured by bolts such that the secondary basket is sandwiched between the mount and the mounting bracket. It is also understood by those of skill in the art that the mobile device holder may be mounted to the shopping cart by other methods than the mounting bracket and bolts , including but not limited to a bayonet-type attachment, spring-loaded attachment, and the like. Alternatively, the mobile device holder may be integrally formed with the secondary basket such that mounting hardware is not needed.

A non-limiting feature of the disclosure provides a ramp depending from an underside of the shelf (i.e., from an opposite side of the shelf as the pair of opposed holding portion channels). The ramp serves to engage the secondary basket , shopping cart handle and other obstacles to pivot the holding portion about the lower axis P into a stowed position (shown in , and A) so that the obstacles to not damage the mobile device holder , e.g., during nesting of the shopping carts . In this way, the snagging of the mobile device holder against shopping cart and other components is avoided.

According to a non-limiting feature, the ramp includes two sections defining a prismatic general V-shaped structure, namely, an upper ramp portion depending from the shelf , and a lower ramp portion depending from the upper ramp portion. As shown in e.g., , the upper ramp portion obliquely extends in a direction away from the shelf (the shelf being generally perpendicular to the rear section ) toward the user, and the lower ramp portion extends underneath the shelf at approximately a 90 degree angle with the upper ramp portion, although those skilled in the art appreciate that different suitable angular relationships among the shelf, upper ramp portion and lower ramp portion are possible. Also, part or all of the ramp may be a spring or other flexible material, so that the ramp can flex when engaging an obstacle to further avoid damage to the mobile device holder. It is also noted that while the figures show the ramp extending the entire length (i.e., in a direction between the holding portion channels , ) of the shelf , those skilled in the art would appreciate that the ramp can be longer or shorter than the length of the shelf, and that the ramp can be in multiple sections along the length of the shelf.

As with the first aspect, by mounting the mobile device holder to the top of the secondary basket of a shopping cart , nesting of the shopping carts is still possible, since the end gate , folding child seat and secondary basket pivot together, thereby conserving floor space. Also as with the first aspect, the mobile device holder allows the mobile device to be pivoted, as further explained below.

The holding portion optionally includes a shelf configured to support the mobile device from below and a pair of opposed holding portion arms , which are aligned with each other. Each holding portion arm , includes a wing portion , and an engagement portion , . Although the figures show the wing portions , depending from the engagement portions , at 90 degree angles (forming a prismatic L-shape), those skilled in the art would appreciate that the wing portions can respectively depend from the engagement portions at suitable angles greater or less than 90 degrees. With such an arrangement, the mobile device may be inserted into either the top or the front of the device holder .

Optionally provided may be padding affixed to a respective engagement portion , . Padding may have a soft covering in order to avoid scratching of a mobile device, and/or may be elastomeric to prevent displacement of the mobile device from the holder . It is noted that mechanisms other than padding may be employed, such as leaf springs (from the first aspect) and coil springs. Padding may extend the entire length of the engagement portion , or may be shorter than the length of the engagement portions or be interrupted.

Referring to , the mobile device holder has a rear section which slidably connects the holding portion arms , . Specifically, the mobile device holder includes an expansion assembly , allows one or both holding portion arms , to move relative to the rear section, thereby allowing the mobile device holder to securely accommodate mobile devices of differing widths. One holding portion arm includes an inner rack , and the other holding portion arm includes an outer rack (shown in ). A pair of pinions affixed to the back of the rear section , each of which engages the inner rack and outer rack . The holding portion arm also includes a pair of slide guides , each of which slides within a guide channel (shown in ) to facilitate the sliding engagement of the holding arm portions , . Also provided is a pair of tape springs housed within the rear section , a free end of which is affixed to a respective slide guide . The tape springs bias (or pull) the holding portion arm toward the rear section, and since the sliding action of the holding portion arm causes the inner rack to engage the pinions which in turn engage the outer rack , the sliding action of the holding portion arm also causes the holding portion arm to also slide toward the rear section. Thus, holding portion arms , are always biased inwardly to securely hold a mobile device between the engagement portions , . It is noted that while a tape spring is disclosed herein, those skilled in the art would appreciate that other suitable biasing devices may be used.

As with the first aspect, the mobile device holder includes an upper pivot assembly affixed to the rear section of holding portion and pivots about upper axis Pu (shown in ) such that the mobile device held in the holding portion can rotate between a portrait and landscape position. The upper pivot assembly is held together and affixed to the holding portion in a manner similar to that disclosed in the first aspect. It is noted that a cover may be provided to cover the hardware affixing the upper pivot assembly to the holding portion . It is also noted that the cover may be magnetic to enable the mobile device to be even more securely held in the holding portion . Instead of or in addition to a magnetic cover , a separate magnet may be provided in the rear section of the holding portion .

As with the first aspect, it is preferred that the upper pivot assembly rotate the holding portion about the upper axis Pu in a range of 0-90 degrees, although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that the holding portion can rotate within a greater or narrower range (e.g., by 180 degrees so that the mobile device can be rotated between portrait, left landscape and right landscape, or by 360 degrees for full rotation), and a spring may be used to facilitate the pivoting of the upper pivot assembly by, e.g, biasing the upper pivot assembly in a predetermined direction. Also as with the first aspect, the upper pivot assembly can rotate within a single plane and about a single axis and/or can rotate within multiple planes and about multiple axes using, e.g., a ball-and-socket or other suitable configuration.

The upper pivot assembly and a lower pivot assembly are connected to each other by a support shaft , which may be in the shape of an I-beam (to save weight) or any other suitable configuration (including the configuration in the first aspect).

The lower pivot assembly is affixed to the base . The lower pivot assembly includes a generally U-shaped mount (or base) having a pair of vertical arms for rotatably supporting a rotation shaft therebetween, and the support shaft is affixed to the rotation shaft, thereby rotating the rotation shaft , support shaft , upper pivot assembly and holding portion together about lower axis P (shown in ) so that the mobile device can be pivoted. The mount also includes a bumper that protrudes toward the front of the shopping cart (preferably beyond the other components of the device holder ), in order to engage and protect the other components of the device holder when shopping carts are pushed or banged together (e.g., during a cart nesting operation).

As with the first aspect, it is preferred that the lower pivot assembly rotate the support shaft , upper pivot assembly and holding portion about the lower axis P in a range of 0-120 degrees, although it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that the lower pivot assembly can provide for rotation within a greater or narrower range, and a spring may be used to facilitate the pivoting of the lower pivot assembly by, e.g, biasing the lower pivot assembly in a predetermined direction. Also as with the first aspect, the lower pivot assembly may rotate within a single plane and about a single axis P and/or can rotate within multiple planes and about multiple axes using, e.g., a ball-and-socket or other suitable configuration.

Also as with the first aspect, the mount can be mounted to the shopping cart using a mounting bracket secured by bolts or other methods of attachment such that the secondary basket is sandwiched between the mount and the mounting bracket. Also as with the first aspect, it is also understood by those of skill in the art that the mobile device holder may be mounted to the shopping cart by other methods than the mounting bracket and bolts, including but not limited to a bayonet-type attachment, spring-loaded attachment, and the like. In an embodiment, the mounting bracket is generally L-shaped (as shown) or U-shaped, in order to prevent sideways displacement of the mobile device holder . Alternatively, the mobile device holder may be integrally formed with the secondary basket such that mounting hardware is not needed.

A non-limiting feature of the disclosure provides a ramp depending from an underside of the shelf . The ramp serves to engage the secondary basket , shopping cart handle and other obstacles to pivot the holding portion about the lower axis P into a stowed position (shown in , and A) so that the obstacles to not damage the mobile device holder , e.g., during nesting of the shopping carts . Similarly, the wing portions , of the holding portion arms , , outwardly extend from the engagement portions , and also serve as ramps to engage the secondary basket , shopping cart handle and other obstacles so that the obstacles to not damage the mobile device holder when the holding portion is in the landscape orientation. In this way, the device holder avoids getting stuck or otherwise tangled with the shopping cart directly in front of the shopping cart to which the device holder is attached, when the mobile device holder is in the stowed position. In this way, the snagging of the mobile device holder (whether in portrait or landscape orientation) against shopping carts and other components is avoided. It is noted that in aspects where the upper pivot assembly rotates the holding portion about the upper axis Pu in a range of 0-90 degrees, only one wing portion , is necessary; however, it may be desirable to provide both wing portions for purposes of symmetry. Also, as with the first aspect, part or all of the ramp or wing portions , may be a spring or other flexible material, so that they can flex when engaging an obstacle to further avoid damage to the mobile device holder .

In situations where mobile devices (e.g., an iPad, tablet computer, and the like) are too large to fit between the pair of opposed holding portion channels , , an expansion holding portion , may be removably inserted into the holding portion , , as shown in (according to a first aspect) and (according to a second aspect). It is noted that the expansion holding portion of the first aspect may be configured to fit into the holding portion of the second aspect, and the expansion holding portion of the second aspect may be configured to fit into the holding portion of the first aspect.

Referring to , the expansion holding portion includes a pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion channels , , and a pair of outer upper expansion holding portion channels , . The pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion channels , are generally parallel with the holding portion channels , of the mobile device holder , so that the pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion channels , can be respectively held within the pair of holding portion channels , of the mobile device holder , thereby securing the expansion holding portion to the mobile device holder, as shown in . A hook depending from a rear section of the expansion holding portion may hook to the rear section of the mobile device holder, to prevent tilting of the expansion holding portion relative to the mobile device holder, thereby further securing the expansion holding portion to the mobile device holder . Although the figures show the expansion holding portion as having a closed rear section , it is understood that the rear section may have one or more openings (e.g., to save weight or cost of materials), including but not limited to perforations, latticework, crossbars and like.

As can be seen in , a mobile device D (here, an iPad) is shown held in the outer upper expansion holding portion channels , of the expansion holding portion . In a non-limiting feature of the disclosure, the distance between the outer upper expansion holding portion channels , may be adjustable so that the expansion holding portion can hold mobile devices D of different widths, and the distance between the inner expansion holding portion channels , may be adjustable so that the expansion holding portion can fit into differently-sized mobile device holders . Different embodiments may provide for different amounts of adjustment of the distance between the pair of outer upper expansion holding portion channels , and of the distance between the pair of opposed inner expansion holding portion channels , , from 1-2 millimeters (due to flexing of the channels , themselves) to 4-5 centimeters or more, and any suitable range therebetween.

The expansion holding portion preferably has an open front end section to facilitate the user's contact with the keys and/or touchscreen of the mobile device D, although it is understood by those of skill in the art that one or more crossbars connecting the outer upper expansion holding portion channels , may be provided to further secure a mobile device to the expansion holding portion .

The upper expansion holding portion channels , may be generally U-shaped to secure the mobile device D on three sides, or alternatively the channels may be generally L-shaped to secure a mobile device on two sides. In the U-shaped channel arrangement, the mobile device D is inserted into the top TT of the expansion holding portion , while in the L-shaped channel arrangement, the mobile device may be inserted into either the top or the front of expansion holding portion . In a feature of the disclosure, when the expansion holding portion is used in conjunction with the mobile device holder it is preferred that the opposed inner expansion holding portion channels , each outwardly extends from the rear section from the mobile device holder and respectively follows the contours of the pair of opposed holding portion channels , , in order to help prevent the expansion holding portion from unintentionally frontwardly or rearwardly disengaging from the mobile device holder .

Referring to , the expansion holding portion according to the second aspect includes an expansion body having a pair of inner expansion holding surfaces , which are respectively engaged by the engagement portions , to securely hold the expansion holding portion therebetween. The expansion holding portion also includes a central lower contact portion configured to rest on the shelf when the expansion holding portion is held by the mobile device holder . To prevent sideways displacement of the expansion holding portion when the expansion holding portion is held by the mobile device holder , the central lower contact portion may have an irregularly-shaped surface such as a jagged or jigsaw-shaped surface which removably lockingly engages a complimentary-shaped surface on the shelf . It is noted that when the expansion holding portion is held by the mobile device holder , each wing portion , respectively fits between a respective inner expansion holding surface , and a respective expansion sliding channel (i.e., the wing portions , are flush against the rear of the expansion body ), to further prevent sideways displacement of the expansion holding portion when the expansion holding portion is held by the mobile device holder .

The expansion holding portion also includes a pair of lower grips (lower prongs) on opposite sides of the central lower contact portion , upon which the mobile device D rests. Although the figures show the lower grips as V-shaped (to secure a mobile device on three sides), those skilled in the art would appreciate that the holding portion channels each can have any suitable number of sides and any suitable configuration, e.g., U-shaped or L-shaped.

The expansion holding portion further includes a pair of upper grips (upper prongs) that are biased toward the pair of lower grips to securely hold a mobile device D between the lower grips and upper grips. To this effect, the expansion holding portion additionally includes a pair of expansion tape springs housed between a respective pair of expansion sliding channels and a respective pair of upper grips . A free end of each expansion tape spring is affixed to a respective pair of upper grips . The tape springs bias (or pull) the pair of upper grips toward the pair of lower grips . It is noted that while a tape spring is disclosed herein, those skilled in the art would appreciate that other suitable biasing devices may be used. It is also noted that while the figures show the pair of upper grips biased toward the pair of lower grips , those skilled in the art would appreciate that in other aspects the pair of lower grips could alternatively or additionally be biased toward the pair of upper grips .

The mobile device holder and expansion holding portion , may be made of any suitable material rigid enough to hold a mobile device, including but not limited to plastic and metal. Further, while the embodiments described herein refer to the mobile device holder , attachable to a shopping cart , it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that the mobile device holder , is attachable to any structure which may be mobile or stationary, such as an automobile, bicycle, a stationary exercise machine, and the like.

The illustrations of the embodiments described herein are intended to provide a general understanding of the structure of the various embodiments. The illustrations are not intended to serve as a complete description of all of the elements and features of apparatus and systems that utilize the structures or methods described herein. Many other embodiments may be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the disclosure. Other embodiments may be utilized and derived from the disclosure, such that structural and logical substitutions and changes may be made without departing from the scope of the disclosure. Additionally, the illustrations are merely representational and may not be drawn to scale. Certain proportions within the illustrations may be exaggerated, while other proportions may be minimized. Accordingly, the disclosure and the figures are to be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive.

One or more embodiments of the disclosure may be referred to herein, individually and/or collectively, by the term “invention” merely for convenience and without intending to voluntarily limit the scope of this application to any particular invention or inventive concept. Moreover, although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it should be appreciated that any subsequent arrangement designed to achieve the same or similar purpose may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown. This disclosure is intended to cover any and all subsequent adaptations or variations of various embodiments. Combinations of the above embodiments, and other embodiments not specifically described herein, will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the description.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. The terminology used in the description of the invention herein is for describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used in the description of the invention and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All publications, patent applications, patents, and other references mentioned herein are expressly incorporated by reference in their entirety.

Unless otherwise indicated, all numbers expressing quantities of ingredients and the like used in the specification and claims are to be understood as being modified in all instances by the term “about.” The terms “generally” and “approximately” as used herein are to be understood as an approximation allowing for variations while still maintaining the efficacy of the invention. Accordingly, unless indicated to the contrary, the numerical and geometric parameters and relationships set forth in the following specification and attached claims are approximations that may vary depending upon the desired properties sought to be obtained by the present invention. At the very least, and not as an attempt to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents to the scope of the claims, each numerical and geometric parameters and relationship should be construed in light of the number of significant digits and ordinary rounding approaches.

The Abstract of the Disclosure is submitted with the understanding that it will not be used to interpret or limit the scope or meaning of the claims. In addition, in the foregoing Detailed Description, various features may be grouped together or described in a single embodiment for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. This disclosure is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed embodiments require more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive subject matter may be directed to less than all of the features of any of the disclosed embodiments. Thus, the following claims are incorporated into the Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as defining separately claimed subject matter.

The above disclosed subject matter is to be considered illustrative, and not restrictive, and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications, enhancements, and other embodiments which fall within the true spirit and scope of the present disclosure. Thus, to the maximum extent allowed by law, the scope of the present disclosure is to be determined by the broadest permissible interpretation of the following claims and their equivalents, and shall not be restricted or limited by the foregoing detailed description.