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1. (WO2018039327) COLLAPSIBLE LOW-PROFILE PRIVACY STRUCTURE
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COLLAPSIBLE LOW-PROFILE PRIVACY STRUCTURE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Structures that obscure the visibility of spectators are generally disfavored in a spectator activity. However, a participant in the activity, such as an athlete, may at times desire for a limited period of privacy without leaving the viewable area of the activity. For example, a user may need to urinate, change clothing/equipment, or be examined without the spectators viewing the selected activity. Therefore, a structure that has a low profile when not in use, but that can also provide a desired amount of privacy when in use, is contemplated herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Aspects are directed to a collapsible privacy structure that has a low profile when in an un-deployed state to preserve the sight lines of observers. The collapsible privacy structure may then be deployed, causing a canopy structure to extend upwardly forming an internal volume that provides privacy and seclusion to the user of the structure. The internal volume may be used for a bathroom, a shower, a medical evaluation/treatment space, and/or a changing space. Upon the departure of the user from the internal volume, the collapsible privacy structure may return to the low-profile nature provided by the un-deployed state.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

Illustrative embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the attached drawing figures, which are incorporated by reference herein and wherein:

FIG. 1 depicts a deployed state of a collapsible privacy structure, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 2 depicts a side profile view of the deployed collapsible privacy structure, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 3 depicts a side view of the collapsible privacy structure in an un-deployed (non-erect) state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 4 depicts a side perspective view of a user moving the collapsible privacy structure, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 5 depicts a front perspective view of the collapsible privacy structure in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 6 depicts a back side view of the collapsible privacy structure in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 7 depicts a linkage assembly for changing from an un-deployed to a deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 8 depicts a view of the door retraction and deployment assemblies, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 9 depicts a view without a canopy or obstructing structures of the base structure in a deployed state, in accordance to aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 10 depicts a perspective view of a collapsible privacy structure having a closed framed door in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof;

FIG. 11 depicts a perspective view of a collapsible privacy structure having an opened framed door in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof;

FIG. 12 depicts a side view of a collapsible privacy structure having an opened framed door in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof;

FIG. 13 depicts a perspective view of a collapsible privacy structure having a closed framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof;

FIG. 14 depicts a side view of a collapsible privacy structure having a closed framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof;

FIG. 15 depicts a perspective view of a collapsible privacy structure having an opened framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof; and

FIG. 16 depicts a side view of a collapsible privacy structure having an opened framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The subject matter of embodiments of the present invention is described with specificity herein to meet statutory requirements. However, the description itself is not intended to limit the scope of this patent. Rather, the inventors have contemplated that the claimed subject matter might also be embodied in other ways, to include different elements or combinations of elements similar to the ones described in this document, in conjunction with other present or future technologies.

Aspects are directed to a collapsible privacy structure that has a low profile when in an un-deployed state to preserve the sight lines of observers. The collapsible privacy structure may then be deployed, causing a canopy structure to extend upwardly forming an internal volume that provides privacy and seclusion to the user of the structure. The internal volume may be used for a bathroom, a shower, a medical evaluation/treatment space, and/or a changing space. Upon the departure of the user from the internal volume, the collapsible privacy structure may return to the low profile nature provided by the un-deployed state.

Accordingly, in one aspect, the present invention provides a collapsible privacy structure comprising a base structure having a front portion and an opposite back portion and a first side and an opposite second side; a canopy support having a proximal portion and a distal portion, the canopy support at the proximal portion pivotally coupled proximate the first side of the base structure proximate the front portion; a canopy of flexible material coupled to the base structure proximate the back portion and coupled to the distal portion of the canopy support; and a collection vessel coupled with the base structure between the first side and the second side.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a collapsible privacy structure comprising: a base structure having a front portion and an opposite back portion and a first side and an opposite second side; a canopy support having a proximal portion and a distal portion, the canopy support at the proximal portion pivotally coupled proximate the first side of the base structure proximate the front portion; a canopy of flexible material coupled to the base structure proximate the back portion and coupled to the distal portion of the canopy support; and an actuator linkage assembly comprising: an actuator support member having a first portion and a second portion, the actuator support member rigidly coupled with the base structure; an actuator member having a first end and a second end, the actuator member first end pivotally coupled with the actuator support member; a carrier link having a first end and a second end, the carrier link first end pivotally coupled with the actuator support proximate the second portion; and a lift link having a first end and a second end, the carrier link second end pivotally connected with the first end of the lift link and the lift link pivotally coupled with the canopy support between the proximal portion and the distal portion.

Having briefly described an overview of embodiments of the present invention, a more detailed description follows.

Aspects of the present invention are related to a privacy structure that has a low profile when in a collapsed state. Conversely, the privacy structure has a sufficient size to accommodate a standing person in an interior volume when in an erect state. For example, when the privacy structure is not needed to provide seclusion, a canopy structure may be collapsed to provide a minimal obstruction height above the ground on which it is positioned. However, when a user desires to have privacy from outside spectators, the canopy structure moves to form a volume that extends above the ground surface a sufficient height to accommodate the user. It is contemplated that the privacy structure may incorporate a urinal or other waste collection mechanism, a shower, a volume for dressing/undressing, and the like. Further, it is contemplated that the size of the privacy structure may be altered to accommodate multiple people or multiple functions, such as a medical evaluation space.

In a spectator event or other line-of-sight activity, it is generally undesirable to obstruct the view of one or more people (or cameras) at the event. For example, in a sporting event with spectators surrounding a field, pitch, court, or other surface, an object that is positioned between the spectators and the intended to-be-viewed activity may create a conflict.

It is contemplated that during an American football game, a structure big enough to enclose and seclude an athlete on the field when the athlete is in a standing position is undesirable from a spectator's perspective as it is likely to obstruct one or more vantage points. However, during the game, an athlete on the field may need to have a conveniently located privacy structure for a temporary period of time, such as for use of a bathroom, changing of clothing/equipment, and/or medical examination/rehabilitation. As a result of the foregoing, aspects of the present invention contemplate a structure with a minimal vision obstruction profile when in a non-deployed state (e.g., non-erect state), but that can easily convert to a privacy structure in a deployed (e.g., erect) state temporarily to serve a particular function. The structure could then be returned to the non-deployed state when the privacy structure is no longer needed. The ability to go from a low-profile, non-deployed state to a deployed state and back to the low-profile state minimizes the duration of time that the privacy structure may obstruct the view of one or more spectators.

Further, as will be discussed in greater detail hereinafter, the privacy structure may be formed with a deployable canopy serving as one or more walls and/or one or more roof structures. The privacy structure may also include a means of egress and ingress from the formed interior volume of seclusion. The means of entry and departure may be a door, curtain, or other structure that is moveably coupled with the canopy to enhance the provided privacy of the internal volume of the erect privacy structure. In an exemplary aspect, it is contemplated that a framed door structure having a covering material, such as the material forming the canopy, stretched thereover may be integrated into the privacy structure such that when the privacy structure is erect, the framed door is maintainable in a closed, privacy enhancing orientation. A user can easily open or close the framed door as a means of egress and ingress. It is contemplated the one or two doors may be implemented individually or in combination. For example, saloon-style doors having a pivotable connection on opposite sides of the structure may be used in an exemplary aspect.

A further exemplary aspect contemplated in connection with the privacy structure is a waste collection system. For example, a collection vessel may be positioned such that when the canopy is in a deployed state, the collection vessel is positioned in the interior volume of the privacy structure. For example, the collection vessel may be a urinal-type component that is intended to serve as a urine capture chamber effective for directing a stream of urine to a storage vessel, which is connected directly or by a transfer structure, such as a flexible hose. The collection vessel may be formed in a funnel-like shape that concentrates a collection of fluid at an outlet port, which may be coupled with the capture chamber. Further, in view of a desire for the privacy structure to have a low profile as a whole, it is contemplated that the collection vessel may be pivotally coupled with the privacy structure such that when the canopy is in a deployed state the collection vessel is in a prominent position functional for collection of a stream of fluid. However, when the canopy is in a non-deployed state, the collection vessel is in a low-profile state that limits a potential obstruction of sight created by the collection vessel, in an exemplary aspect.

The privacy structure may be transportable by a movement means, such as one or more wheels. In an exemplary aspect, it is contemplated that the privacy structure is outfitted with two or more wheels allowing for the structure, in a non-deployed (or deployed) state, to be moved. For example, it is contemplated that the privacy structure may have axially aligned wheels positioned proximate an end of the privacy structure, such as a back end. The privacy structure may be moved by elevating the non-wheeled end of the privacy

structure to transfer a greater load to the wheel that is rotatably coupled with a frame of the privacy structure. In an exemplary aspect, this mechanism of movement is similar in concept to a wheel barrow-type movement. However, it is also contemplated that three or more wheels may be used in a wagon-like movement. Further, it is contemplated that no wheels may be used, but insets, a skid, or other not rotatable mechanism may be used. Further, multidirectional bearings or other mechanical movement mechanisms may be implemented.

The change from an un-deployed state to a deployed state may be accomplished by a number of powered and movement mechanisms. For example, human power may deploy one or more features. An actuator may deploy one or more features. It is contemplated that hydraulic, pneumatic, and/or electric power may be leveraged to cause the deployment or un-deployment of any feature contemplated herein. Regardless of power source, it is contemplated that a mechanical advantage may be gained and a controlled-motion path may be achieved with one or more links in a linkage system. Further, it is contemplated that a linkage system may be implemented to achieve a speed of motion, a limit of movement, a range of movement, and the like. Exemplary linkage systems will be discussed in greater detail hereinafter. It is understood that a linkage system may be used or may be omitted, depending on the aspects contemplated.

Turning to the figures in general and FIG. 1 in particular, a collapsible privacy structure 100 in a deployed state is depicted, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. As is generally depicted, the collapsible privacy structure 100 is comprised of a base structure 102, a canopy support 202, a canopy 300, and a pair of doors 402 and 404.

The base structure 102 has a front portion 104, a back portion 106, a first side 108, and a second side 110. As depicted, the base structure 102 is formed from a frame structure with a polymer-based inlay. In this example, the frame structure may be formed from metallic components that provide a structural support necessary to support the linkage mechanism discussed hereinafter. Further, it is contemplated that the base structure may be formed having a mass of substantial portion to provide a sufficient anchor and low center of balance to resist a tipping force when the collapsible privacy structure 100 is in a deployed state. For example, when the collapsible privacy structure 100 is in a deployed state, a wind-generated force acting on the canopy 300 that initiates a tipping force may be resisted by the base having a structure of sufficient mass.

The collapsible privacy structure 100 may be formed in a pan- like manner such that a pair of vertical sides extend upwardly to form the first side 108 and the second side 110. It is further contemplated that a vertical portion may extend upwardly from the back portion 106.

As a result, it is contemplated that the collapsible privacy structure 100 may be formed having three wall portions extending upwardly from a base portion. It is further contemplated that a front wall proximate the front portion 104 is omitted, in an exemplary aspect. For example, to facilitate easy ingress and egress from the collapsible privacy structure 100 when in a deployed state, the absence of a front wall limits obstacles for the user to enter an interior volume 114 of the deployed collapsible privacy structure 100.

It is contemplated that collapsible privacy structure 100 is comprised of a base plate 112, which forms a portion of a floor-like surface in the base structure 102. The base plate 112 may be pivotally coupled with the base structure 102. The base plate 112 has a front edge, a back edge, a first side edge, and a second side edge. It is contemplated that the pivotal coupling of the base plate 112 allows for the base plate to activate a pressure switch 105 in response to a change in load that occurs when a user prepares to enter the interior volume 114 of the collapsible privacy structure 100. For this reason, it is contemplated that the base plate 112 in connection with the pressure switch 105 acts to activate an actuator and linkage assembly to cause the collapsible privacy structure 100 to change from an un-deployed state to a deployed state. Therefore, it is contemplated that the front edge of the base plate extends outside of the interior volume 114 such that the activation and deployment can occur prior to the user entering a volume that will become the interior volume 114 when deployed.

It is further contemplated that the base plate 112 may be fixedly coupled with the base structure 102 in an exemplary aspect. Further, it is contemplated that any type of activator may be implemented to cause the deployment. For example, a button, a switch, a motion detector, a light-beam continuity switch, and the like. Therefore, it is contemplated that any type of mechanism may be implemented to cause the deployment of the canopy 300 by an actuator (or manual force).

The canopy 300 may be formed from any material, such as a textile, a knit, a woven, a processed polymer, and the like. For example, polyester, nylon, canvas, or other material used in the construction of tent-like structures may be implemented. In an exemplary aspect, it is contemplated that the canopy 300 may be formed from a flexible material that is effective for obscuring visibility into the interior volume 114. The canopy 300 may be of any color, texture, weight, and material.

The canopy 300, in an exemplary aspect, when in a deployed state as depicted in FIG. 1, extends upwardly from the base structure 102 forming a first side wall, a second side wall, and a roof structure that also forms a back wall. In an exemplary aspect, the first side wall formed by the canopy 300 merges with the first side wall of the base structure 102 to form a substantially continuous side wall from ground to roof. It is further contemplated that the second side wall of the canopy 300 may extend upwardly from the base structure 102 proximate the second side wall on the second side 110. Similarly, it is contemplated that the back panel of the canopy 300 joins with the back vertical wall of the base structure 102, in an exemplary aspect. It is contemplated that the canopy 300 may be fixedly coupled to the base structure 102 in one or more locations. It is also contemplated that the canopy 300 is removeably coupled to one or more portions of the base structure 102. In an exemplary aspect, it is contemplated that the canopy 300 is secured around a portion of the first side of a support form of the base structure 102, around a portion of a support form of the second side of the base structure 102, and around a portion of a support form of the back side of the base structure 102.

The canopy support 202 is a support that extends in a rib-like manner from a pivotal connection on a first side of the base support to a pivotal connection on a second side of the base support. The canopy support 202 has a proximal portion 204 proximate the pivotal connection. The canopy support 202 has a distal portion 206 that is proximately positioned at a farthest point from the pivotal connection. In an exemplary aspect, the distal portion 206 may form a roof support portion that defines a part of the roof. The canopy support 202 serves as a support structure that defines, in part, the interior volume 114 when in a deployed state. For example, the canopy 300 is coupled, either fixedly or removeably, about or to the canopy support 202. The movement of the canopy support 202 about the pivotal connections with the canopy coupled thereto causes the canopy 300 to extend upwardly from the base structure 102 to form the internal volume 114. As will be discussed hereinafter, it is contemplated that additional canopy supports may also be used in conjunction with the canopy support 202 to further define the canopy shape when in a deployed state.

While FIGS 1-9 depict a particular door configuration, it is contemplated that alternative door configuration(s) may be implemented, such as the exemplary configuration depicted in FIGS. 10-16 hereinafter. Further, it is contemplated that structures, components, and configurations provided herein with respect to different embodiments may be intermingled and mixed to achieve a particular result. For example, actuator configurations, while depicted in connection with a first door style, may be implemented with a second door style even though not specifically depicted as such. With respect to the configuration of FIGS. 1-9, a first door 402 and a second door 404 may extend from the canopy 300 proximate the canopy support 202. In an exemplary aspect, the door 402 or 404 extends along the canopy support between the distal portion 206 and the proximal portion 204. The door may be formed from a material similar to that of the canopy 300 material, in an exemplary aspect.

The door 402 has a top side, a bottom side, a first side, a second side, a front surface, and a back surface. It is contemplated that a gusset is formed between the front surface and the back surface in which a counterweighted, pivotally coupled door rod is moveably mounted. As will be provided hereinafter, the door rod pivots in a generally first side 108 to second side 110 direction when the canopy support 202 is in a near (or fully) deployed state. The movement of the door rod based on an offset counterweight causes a gravity induced closure of the door when the canopy support 202 is in a near vertical position of the deployed state, as will be discussed in greater detail in FIGs. 7 and 8 hereinafter.

FIG. 2 depicts a side profile view 200 of the deployed collapsible privacy structure 100, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. The base structure 102 having the front portion 104, the back portion 106, and the first side 108 is depicted. Additionally, the canopy 300 as supported and formed by the canopy support 202, a second canopy support 208, a third canopy support 210, and a structure of the base structure 102, is depicted.

A pivotal coupling point off of the base structure 102 for the canopy support 202 at a proximal portion 204 is depicted in view 200. This pivotal connection is a pivot point at which the canopy support 202 articulates to change from a deployed to non-deployed state. The second canopy support 208 is pivotally coupled to the base structure 102 in a similar location; however, it is contemplated that the second canopy support 208 pivotal coupling point is offset by at least a distance of the diameter/thickness of ½ the canopy support 202 and ½ the diameter/thickness of the second canopy support 208, to limit an interference or binding between the canopy support structures during the deployment and un-deployment actions. A similar pivot connection offset location is contemplated for the third canopy support 210. Stated differently, it is contemplated that each of the canopy support members has an offset pivotal connection in the same vertical plane. In an exemplary aspect, the offset different pivotal points is implemented as opposed to having laterally offset members sharing a common pivot point to allow for the linkage assembly, to be discussed hereinafter, to freely interact with the canopy support 202 during a deployment action.

It is contemplated that the canopy 300 is coupled with each of the canopy supports 202, 208, and 210, in an exemplary aspect. Therefore, the canopy 300 serves as a carrier material that when the canopy support 202 pivots from an un-deployed state to a deployed state, a tension force exerted by the canopy 300 onto the canopy support 208 and the canopy support 210 cause each of the canopy supports to also articulate. Stated differently, by pulling a front portion of the canopy by the pivoting of the canopy support 202, the canopy pulls on the remaining canopy supports, which causes each of them to pivotally move in response to the tension force applied by the canopy 300.

Also depicted is a wheel assembly 116 rotatably coupled to the base structure 102 proximate the back portion 106. It is contemplated that an axially aligned wheel assembly may also be rotatably coupled on the opposite side of the collapsible privacy structure 100. The combination of wheel assemblies may work in coordination to allow the collapsible privacy structure 100 to be moved, such as in a wheel-barrel fashion.

FIG. 3 depicts a side view 301 of the collapsible privacy structure 100 in an un-deployed (non-erect) state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. This non-erect state allows for a lower profile to limit an obstruction of view by others. Therefore, when the collapsible privacy structure 100 is not in use for the internal volume, the un-deployed state lowers the profile allowing for greater visibility surrounding the collapsible privacy structure 100.

The base structure 102 is depicted having the front portion 104 and the back portion 106. Also depicted is the wheel assembly 116. In the un-deployed state, the canopy 300 is folded about itself in an accordion-like fashion with the canopy structures in a substantially horizontal manner and in close proximity to one another relative to when in a deployed state.

Stated differently, distal portions of the various canopy structures are more proximate one another in an un-deployed state than when in a deployed state. Further, when in the un-deployed state, the distal portion 206 is positioned proximate the base structure 102. To achieve an un-deployed state, the canopy structure pivotally articulates about a pivot point proximate the proximal portion 204.

FIG. 4 depicts a side perspective view 400 of a user moving the collapsible privacy structure 100, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. As depicted, the user raises the front portion of the collapsible privacy structure, which effectively transfers a load of the collapsible privacy structure to the wheel assemblies. As a result, the collapsible privacy structure can easily be repositioned from a first location to another location.

FIG. 5 depicts a front perspective view 500 of the collapsible privacy structure 100 in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. The base structure front portion 104, the first side 108, and the second side 110 are provided for orientation. The base plate 112 forms a floor portion on which a user may stand, in an exemplary aspect. Also depicted is the proximal portion 204 of the canopy support structure as well as the door rod 406.

In an exemplary aspect, a user would approach the collapsible privacy structure 100 at the front portion 104 when in an un-deployed state and an actuator and linkage assembly would be activated, such as upon pressure being applied to the base plate 112. The activation of the actuator would cause the canopy support to pivot about a pivot connection which would raise the distal end of the canopy support structure, causing the canopy to also raise and form an internal volume. The formed internal volume may be formed on two sides, a back portion, and an overhead portion (to prevent potential spectators seated above from having visibility to the internal volume) may be formed by the canopy in the deployed state. In order to further enclose the internal volume, the door rod 406 may pivot in a second side 110 to a first side 108 direction.

This medial direction pivot may extend a door portion to form a complete or partial enclosure of the internal volume about an ingress/egress portion of the internal volume.

Also depicted is a collection vessel 502. The collection vessel in this example is a funnel-like structure formed as an inverted pyramid. The collection vessel 502 provides a concentration structure that allows a stream of liquid to be generally provided and then focused into a collection container; much like a typical funnel is intended to function. While the shape of the collection vessel 502 is depicted as an inverted pyramid, it is contemplated that alternative structures may be implemented. For example, a different geometry may be more suited for some users than others. Women, for example, if using the collapsible privacy structure 100 as a bathroom, may desire a different collection vessel 502 than a male may desire. Therefore, it is contemplated that a variety of collection vessels may be used or exchanged to facilitate specific uses and users.

In the un-deployed state (i.e., collapsed state), it is contemplated that a collection vessel, such as the collection vessel 502, is in an un-deployed position that results in a lower profile than when in a deployed position. As depicted, the collection vessel is in a horizontal position in the un-deployed state, but pivots to a vertical position in a deployed state. In alternative aspects, the collection vessel may be fixedly coupled to the base support.

FIG. 6 depicts a back side view 600 of the collapsible privacy structure 100 in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. The back portion 106, the first side 108, and the second side 110 are provided for orientation. The underside of the collection vessel 502 is depicted having a transfer hose 508 extending to a collection container 506.

In an exemplary aspect, the collection container 506 is a container for storing and transporting liquid or other contents. For example, a user may urinate into the collection vessel 502, which directs the urine to the transfer hose 508. The urine passes through the transfer hose 508 into the collection container 506. It is contemplated that the collection container 506 is removable, such that when cleaning is to occur or emptying of contents from the container, the collection container may be individually removed from the collapsible privacy structure 100 to allow for easy disposal of the contents. For example, the collection container may be taken to a drain and the contents may be poured out from the collection container. It is contemplated that the transfer hose 508 is flexible in nature allowing for the collection vessel 502 to pivot from a deployed to un-deployed position while maintaining the transfer hose 508 in connection with both the collection vessel 502 and the collection container 506. The collection container may be a 1-10 gallon plastic container suitable for collecting the contents input into the collection vessel 502.

Also depicted, and as will be discussed in FIG. 8 hereinafter, a counterweight 407 coupled with the door rod 406 is provided. The counterweight 407 allows for the gravity-assisted deployment of the doors to a privacy-providing position (e.g., closed) when the canopy is in a deployed state.

FIG. 7 depicts a linkage assembly 700 for changing from an un-deployed to a deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. The linkage assembly 700 is comprised of a linkage support 702, an actuator 704, a carrier link 706, and a lift link 708. The actuator 704 may be a linear actuator having a capacity ranging from 100 pounds of force to 1,000 pounds of force. The amount of force required depends on the number of

actuators, the geometry of the linkage interactions, the types of materials, and the speed of deployment desired.

The actuator may use alternating current or direct current. The actuator may use a high voltage (e.g., 110 volts) or lower voltage (e.g., 12 volts). As previously discussed, it is contemplated that in place of or in addition to the actuator, a pneumatic, hydraulic, or other power mechanism may be implemented to automatically deploy the collapsible privacy structure 100.

The actuator 704 has a first end 716 and a second end 718. The first end 716 is pivotally coupled with the linkage support 702 proximate a second end. The second end 718 of the actuator 704 is pivotally coupled with a second end 722 of the carrier link 706 and a first end 724 of the lift link 708. A first end 720 of the carrier link 706 is pivotally coupled with the linkage support 702 proximate a first end 712 of the linkage support 702. A second end 726 of the lift link 708 is coupled with the canopy support 202 at a location between the proximal portion 204 and a distal portion of the canopy support 202. The linkage assembly 700 is depicted in the deployed state.

In an un-deployed state, the actuator 704 second end 718 retracts causing an angle between the lift link 708 and the carrier link 706 to become more acute, which allows (or causes) the canopy support 202 to pivot about a pivotal connection proximate the proximal portion 204.

While a specific linkage configuration is depicted, alternative combinations of links and relative positioning of the links, and sizes of links, may be implemented to achieve a desired degree of movement for a particular amount of actuation force.

Additionally depicted are elements allowing for gravity deployment and mechanical un-deployment of a door portion. For example, the door rod having a counter weight 407 is pivotally coupled at a pivotal connection to the canopy support 202. As will be discussed in FIG. 8 hereinafter, the door rod pivots in a direction substantially perpendicular to the direction of pivot by the canopy support 202. Also depicted is a retraction cable 802 that extends from a tensioning spring 804, which is coupled with the carrier link 706 at an adjustable coupling location 806. The retraction cable 802 is guided by a guide 728 to translate the linear force provided by the retraction cable 802 from a first direction to a second direction.

In an exemplary aspect, the door rod relies on gravity to extend from a near vertical position to a medial extending position, which causes a movement of a door portion to which it is moveably coupled. However, upon the transition from a deployed state to an un-deployed state, the retraction cable 802 applies a force to the door rod that causes the door rod to pivot back to a substantially aligned orientation to the canopy support 202. Stated differently, the retraction cable 802 and the tension spring 804 are utilized to overcome the gravitational force that repositioned the door rod from a vertical orientation to the medial orientation. Once overcome, the doors "open" and are pulled out of the way of the collection vessel as the canopy returns to a low-profile position.

FIG. 8 depicts a view of the door retraction and deployment assemblies 800, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. Illustrated is the canopy support 202 having a proximal portion 204. Also depicted is the door rod 406 as coupled with the counterweight 407 about the pivotal connection on the canopy support 202. The retraction cable 802 is depicted extending through the guide 728. The pivotal direction of the door rod 406 is depicted in a left-to-right direction, which is generally perpendicular to the direction of pivot of the canopy support 202 relative to the base structure 102.

FIG. 9 depicts a view 900 without a canopy or obstructing structures of the base structure 102 in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects of the present invention. For orientation purposes, the front portion 104 and the back portion 106 of the base structure 102 are provided. Also depicted is the combination of canopy supports as oriented in an exemplary deployed position. The canopy support 202 (having the proximal portion 204 and the distal portion 206), the second canopy support 208, and the third canopy support 210 are depicted.

Additionally, the door rod 406 is depicted. The linkage assembly is also depicted with the actuator 718, linkage support 702, carrier link 706, and lift link 708. Also depicted are the collection vessel 502 and a collection link 504 that is pivotally coupled with the collection vessel 502 and the third canopy support 210. The collection link 504 causes the rotational position change of the collection vessel 502 when transitioning from an un-deployed to a deployed state.

Also depicted is a collection container 506 that may be moveably secured therein. For example, it is contemplated that the collection container 506 may be removed from the collapsible privacy structure, such as to empty the contents maintained in the collection container. Also depicted is a wheel assembly 116 (1116 in FIGS 10-16). The wheel assembly may be powered or free-spinning. The wheel assembly may be positioned such that when the privacy structure is in a horizontal position, the wheels are not in contact with the underlying ground. However, when the collapsible privacy structure is angled from horizontal, as depicted in FIG. 4, the wheel assembly is able to engage the ground for easier movement of the structure as a whole.

FIGS. 10-16 depict another door and collection vessel configuration, in accordance with aspects hereof. However, as provided above, it is contemplated that any combination of structures, mechanisms, and configurations provided herein may be combined in any combination. For example, the flexible door of FIGS. 1-6 may be combined with the collection vessel of FIGS 10-16. Further, it is contemplated that any other structures, such as the collection vessels, door(s), base, canopy, movement mechanisms, and the like may be combined in any manner herein.

Components and structures of FIGS. 10-16 are numbered with similar numbering to that which is provided in FIGs. 1-9 with the addition of one thousand to that number to associate the disclosure provided herein between the different embodiments unless otherwise provided. For example, the base structure 102 of FIGS. 1-9 is referred to as the base structure 1102 in FIGS 10-16 to incorporate the content already provided herein between the different configurations presented. As such, the disclosure of similarly, but plus/minus one thousand, numbered elements is intended unless specifically provided to the alternative/contrary.

FIG. 10 depicts a perspective view of a collapsible privacy structure 1100 having a closed framed door 1402 in an un-deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof. The collapsible privacy structure 1100 is comprised of a base structure 1102 having a front portion 1104 and an opposite back portion 1106, a first side 1108 and an opposite second side 1110. The framed door 1402 is moveably coupled (e.g., hinged) to one or more canopy support members, such as a canopy support 1202. The framed door 1402 may be moveably coupled at any location of the collapsible privacy structure 1100, such as to the base structure 1102, the canopy support members, and/or other components. For example, the framed door 1402 may be coupled proximate the first side 1108 or the second side 1110 to one or more elements, in an exemplary aspect. Also depicted is a base plate 1112, which may serve as a floor and/or an activating surface for deployment/retraction.

The framed door 1402 is a structure having rigidity sufficient to maintain a desired form even when exposed to wind, user interaction during opening and closing, and during deployment and un-deployment state changes of collapsible privacy structure 1100. For example, the framed door 1402 may be comprised of one or more structural elements,

such as tubular metal or polymer-based materials. The structural elements may form a door perimeter (e.g., a rectilinear shape) about which a covering material is mounted. For example, a canvas or other sheet-like material may be stretched or otherwise maintained in place and tension to form the corpus of the door. As depicted in FIG. 11 hereinafter, the framed door 1402 may have a frame about which a material similar to that forming the canopy is secured to cover the frame. Also depicted in FIG. 10, the framed door 1402 is moveably coupled, such as through hinges, to the collapsible privacy structure 1100. In the non-deployed configuration of FIG. 10, the framed door 1402 is in a closed configuration, which is effective to obscure the contents maintained therein (e.g., a collection vessel).

FIG. 11 depicts a perspective view of a collapsible privacy structure having an opened framed door 1402 in a non-deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof. FIG. 12 depicts a side view 1200 of the collapsible privacy structure of FIG. 11 having an opened framed door 1402 in a non-deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof. The door 1402 is comprised of frame members 1405 and covering material 1407. While a particular configuration is depicted, it is contemplated that any frame configuration may be implemented. The frame members 1405 may be formed from metallic, polymer, and/or organic materials. The frame member 1405 may have any cross-sectional shape, such as circular, square, "L," "T," or the like. Various frame members 1405 may be joined using any known technique, such as welding, gluing, mechanical fasteners, fittings, compression maintainers, and the like. The covering material 1407 may be any covering material, such as a polymer-based or organic-based material. The covering material 1407 may be knit, woven, or sheet- like material. The covering material 1407 may be secured to the frame members 1405 in any manner, such as mechanical securing, adhesives, compression fit, and the like.

The framed door 1402 may be moveably coupled with other components of the collapsible privacy structure 1100 by way of hinges 1403. In the depicted configuration, the hinges 1403 pivotally hinge the framed door 1402 to a canopy support, such as canopy support 1202. While the hinges 1403 are depicted on the first side 1108, it is contemplated that the hinges or other connections mechanisms may be positioned on the second side 1110, a distal end of the canopy support, a proximal end of the canopy support, or elsewhere. Further, it is contemplated that one or more self-closing mechanisms are also used in connection with the hinges 1403. For example, it is contemplated that a torsion spring, a coal spring, a pneumatic, or the like element is used to suggest a closed state to the framed door 1402, in an exemplary aspect.

The framed door 1402 is contemplated to further include (or other components of the collapsible privacy structure 1100) one or more temporary maintaining components. For example, a maintaining component may include a latch, a magnetic securing component, actuator, pneumatic or mechanical springs, and the like. The maintaining components are effective to maintain the framed door in a closed state when the collapsible privacy structure is in a deployed and/or non-deployed state.

Also depicted in FIG. 11 is a collection vessel 1502 in a retracted state. The collection vessel 1502, which may be optional depending on an intended use of the collapsible privacy structure, is in a retracted state when the collapsible privacy structure 1100 is in a non-deployed configuration and the collection vessel 1502 is in an engaged state when the collapsible privacy structure 1100 is in a deployed state. The engaged state has the collection vessel 1502 in a raised location to allow for collection of urine from a user, in an exemplary aspect. When in a retracted state, the collection vessel 1502 does not extend into a plane occupied by the framed door 1402 when in a closed state of the non-deployed state of the collapsible privacy structure 1100.

The collection vessel 1502 is coupled (rotatably coupled in an example) to a collection link 1505. The collection link 1505 is pivotally coupled proximate the back portion 1106 of the base structure 1102 or other components of the collapsible privacy structure 1100. As better depicted in FIG. 13, the collection link 1505 is connected to one or more canopy structure(s), such as a canopy structure 1210, such that when the canopy structure 1210 is actuated in a deployed configuration, the collection link 1505 is also actuated to an engaged position.

FIG. 13 depicts a perspective view of the collapsible privacy structure of FIGs. 10-12 having a closed framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof. Canopy supports are depicted without a covering canopy for illustration purposes. However, in use, the canopy 1300 extends over the canopy supports, such as the canopy support 1202, 1208, and 1210. As previously provided, the canopy 1300 may serve as a translator of force between the canopy supports such that the canopy 1300 transfers a tensile load between the canopy supports to cause a rotation about one or more pivots as the collapsible privacy structure transitions from a non-deployed to deployed state. Also depicted is the collection link 1505 in an engaged position as actuated by the canopy structure 1210 through a connection 1504. The connection 1504 may be flexible or rigid. In the depicted configuration, the connection 1504 is a cable-like structure that is effective to transfer a tensile load from the canopy structure 1210 to the collection link 1505 as the canopy structure 1210 pivots to a deployed state. However, alternative connection locations and types are contemplated to transition the collection vessel 1502 from a retracted state nested within a vessel recess 1501 to the engaged position depicted in FIG. 13. The vessel recess 1501 is a volume of space, such as positioned between one or more collection containers 1506. The vessel recess 1501 may allow for a lower profile of the collapsible privacy structure when in a non-deployed state.

As depicted in FIG. 13, it is contemplated that the framed door 1402 is configured that in a closed state, a first side is moveably coupled with a canopy support member, such as canopy support member 1202, along a first side of the canopy support member. The framed door 1402 has a width adapted to extend across an area between a first side and a second side of the base structure 1102 between the canopy support member. As such, the framed door is effective to enclose the internal volume of the deployed collapsible privacy structure. As depicted, it is contemplated that an area above and below the door may be maintained for ventilation and/or weight savings. The areas exposed into the internal volume of the deployed structure are positioned so as to maintain the privacy of a user, in an exemplary aspect. An exterior of the framed door 1402 is contemplated as having one or more handles. An interior surface of the framed door 1402 is contemplated as having one or more latch structures adaptable to engage the canopy support member or other components when in a closed state.

FIG. 14 depicts a side view of the collapsible privacy structure of FIGs. 10-13 having a closed framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof. A portion of an actuator linkage 1708 is depicted in this view. The actuator linkage may be used to change the collapsible privacy structure 1100 between the deployed and non-deployed state. As previously provided herein, alternative configurations are contemplated and a linkage assembly may be omitted altogether, in exemplary aspects.

FIG 15. depicts a perspective view of the collapsible privacy structure of FIGs. 10-14 having an opened framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof. FIG 16 depicts a side view of the collapsible privacy structure of FIGs. 10-15 having an opened framed door in a deployed state, in accordance with aspects hereof.

Regardless of the configuration implemented, it is contemplated that the collapsible privacy structure is functional to transition from a non-deployed state to a deployed state. The deployment may include a user activating a movement mechanism

through presence/proximity (e.g., motion detecting switch), through passive action (e.g., activating a switch in a press plate upon entering), and/or through active request (e.g., intentionally engaging a switch- like element). For example, it is contemplated that a user may approach the collapsible privacy structure and place pressure by stepping on a component coupled with a switch. Upon activation of the switch, one or more mechanical elements (e.g., an electric linear actuator) drive one or more linkages (or direct drives to canopy) to cause a deployment of the canopy. The canopy may remain deployed while the user remains present, such as continued sensing by the activation switch, through continued sensing by a secondary mechanism (e.g., a motion detector), and/or through secondary activation of the activating switch at egress (e.g., stepping on the component/switch upon exit). Therefore, it is contemplated that the transition between deployed/non-deployed states may be activated in a number of ways.

Although the collapsible privacy structure construction is described above by referring to particular embodiments, it should be understood that the modifications and variations could be made to the collapsible privacy structure construction described without departing from the intended scope of protection provided by the following claims.