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Reference To Related Applications
This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application serial number 60/700,701, filed on July 19, 2005 and entitled System and Method of Creating Spherical Imagery from a Non-Rotating Camera, incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

Stands and tripods are generally and often used in the photographic industries. The art discloses variations of stands and tripods. Generally, a tripod base is supported by a central column and three legs. In U.S. Patent No. 6,092,770 and U.S. Patent No. 6,824,319, each leg is adjustable and is connected to the center column by a connecting arm.
It is also known in the art that tripods are used for supporting optical or photographic equipment, such as cameras, in a stable manner at a predetermined distance and height with respect to the subject viewed or photographed. The tripods known in the art have adjustable vertical lengths and can only support the photographic equipment that rests directly on top of the tripod.
Additionally, the art discloses a telescopic stand having at least two legs, wherein each leg is slidable relative to one another, and has a locking mechanism so that each leg can be individually positioned, as disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,913,231.
There are several limitations to the tripods and stands that are known in the art. For example, the art fails to disclose any apparatus that enables a photographic or optical device to be supported at a horizontal distance from the stand, more specifically, on an extension at an angle of ninety degrees from the stand. The art also fails to disclose any apparatus that provides a full axis of mobility for the optical device being supported by the stand. The lack of known art prevents a user from photographing a full circular range of an image.

The present invention provides a stand which supports an optical or photographic device. The stand according to the invention is configured to support a camera suspended at a vertical and horizontal distance, generally perpendicular to the stand, to allow a user to photograph a full circular range of an image. The stand provides an adjustable vertical extension and an adjustable horizontal extension. The horizontal extension, which may be telescopic is positioned at an angle of ninety degrees from the stand. A camera mount, which is attached to the horizontal extension, is capable of attaching to several different devices, including any of various known cameras. A counter- weight may be disposed on the horizontal extension at an end distal to the camera mount end. In operation, a camera is attached to the camera mount and the stand permits a user to photograph 360x180 imagery according to a method such as described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No.
, entitled Methods for Creating Spherical Imagery, filed April 19, 2006, incorporated herein in its entirety.
The stand is comprised of a plurality of legs, like a tripod. There is a substantially vertical extension with a specified length that extends upward from the stand. In addition, there is a substantially horizontal extension that is attached at one end to the vertical extension. The horizontal extension extends at a substantially ninety degree angle from the vertical extension. A camera mount is attached to the far end of the horizontal extension, which attaches to any optical or photographic device, including a camera. The horizontal extension is attached to the vertical extension that permits the horizontal extension to be rotated 180° in either of two directions (i.e. the horizontal extension can be rotated in one direction or 180° in the opposite direction).
In another embodiment, a remote actuator permits a user to control the movements and mechanics of a photographic device via remote access. The photographic device is attached to the camera mount.
Advantages of the present invention include that a photographic device can be mounted at a horizontal and vertical distance from the stand. The photographic device can be positioned on the stand in different circular or angular orientations, allowing a user to photograph a first scene (e.g. upward) and rotated in the opposite direction to photograph a second scene (e.g. downward) so that a full 360 x 180 degree image can be obtained.

Brief Description of the Drawings
The foregoing and other features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a frontal view of an embodiment of the present invention

Detailed Description
In the drawing of Fig. 1, a tripod stand, configured in accordance with the invention, is generally indicated 100. The number of legs with which the stand is equipped is irrelevant per se. Similar stands with two or more legs can be produced along with the use of the teaching given below.
The illustrative embodiment of the stand apparatus 100 includes a tripod like structure 102 with three substantially similar legs, 101a, 101b and 101c. The three legs 101a, 101b and lOlc are attached to a first joining structure 109. A central column 111 is located in the center of the legs 101a, 101b, 101c and is joined with the legs 101a, 101b, 101c at the first joining structure 109. An adjustable vertical rod 103 extends outward and upward from the joining structure 109. The rod 103 can be adjusted in a variable range, ranging from 0 to 24 inches, for example, in order to raise or lower the vertical rod.
At the top of the rod 103, there is a second joining structure 113, which is used to secure a horizontal member 105 to the rod 103. The horizontal member 105 extends at angle that is substantially ninety degrees from the vertical rod 103. The second joining structure 113 can be in the form of a manually actuated clamp that permits the horizontal member to be moved (Arrow A), and fixed in different lateral positions. It should be appreciated that any of various actuators including manual or automated actuators (such as a linear actuator) could be used at the second joining structure for lateral movement and fixing of the horizontal member 105. It should also be appreciated that lateral movement or extension of the horizontal member 105 may be effected by implementing the horizontal member 105 as a telescoping member. At the end of the horizontal rod 105 distal to the second joining structure 18 is a camera mounting device 107 which is used to connect a camera or any of various other photographic devices to the horizontal rod 105. At an end of the horizontal member 105 distal to the camera mounting device 107 there may be a counterweight disposed to help balance the stand apparatus.
The second joining structure 113 may also configured to permit rotation of the horizontal member 105. The horizontal member 105 can be rotated in a first direction (arrow B) and fixed so that the camera 108 is positioned to take a picture in a first position (e.g. an upward image). The horizontal member 105 can also be further rotated, for example in the opposite direction so that the camera 108 is fixed in position to take a picture in a second position (e.g. a downward image). This can be accomplished such as with a 90° rotational mount. It should be appreciated that rather than rotation of the entire horizontal member, an attachment or 90° rotational mount can be provided at the camera mount end of the member to facilitate positioning of the camera by rotation of the mount about an axis parallel to the horizontal member.
In a preferred implementation, mechanical features such as stops or detents or the like may be used to limit the rotation to permit accurately fixing the horizontal member in the appropriate radial orientation (i.e. upward or downward). It should also be appreciated that the lateral position of the horizontal member 105 may be selected so that a downward image does not capture aspects of the stand legs 101a- 10 Ic.
In another embodiment of the invention, the camera or photographic device that is attached to the camera mount is controlled by a remote actuator (not shown). The remote actuator permits a user to control the camera's movements and mechanics via remote access. In this embodiment, a user may remain a distance away from the stand and photographic device while taking photographs in a full circular range.
The invention achieves many advantages, including the ability of the camera to be extended at a horizontal distance from the tripod and therefore has the ability to take photographs at any of various angles along the axis of the horizontal member 105.
The illustrative embodiments, implementations and examples herein are meant to be illustrative and not limiting. The present invention has been described by way of example, and modifications and variations of the exemplary embodiments will suggest themselves to skilled artisans in this field without departing from the spirit of the invention. Features and characteristics of the above-described embodiments may be used in combination. The preferred embodiments are merely illustrative and should not be considered restrictive in any way.