Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Apr-16
Stephen M. Stanton: AUTHOR [+2]
by Stephen M. Stanton and Son Quang Le
More products are becoming smaller and smaller in size and volume and it is becoming more of a challenge for engineers to fit in all mechanical and electrical features. Therefore we must be creative with conceptions to accommodate the space and easy access of the functions and features.
In a conversation over how to get voice capabilities into the CDMA Dragon we came up with several suggestions such as adding a speaker or a headset. Both of these had negative impact on the unit. Adding a speaker would increase the size much more than we were willing to do at this time.
Using a headset would create the problem for the user of what to do with the headset when not in use, or having the user forget it and be unable to use his unit to the full extent.
We finally settled on a unique solution that would not overly affect the size of the unit or cause carrying problems for the user.
We wanted to make a retractable earpiece, similar to the keyrings, badgeclips, and tape measurers we use everyday, that would stay inside the unit until needed and then automatically retract back into the unit when the user was finished with it. See Figures 1 and 2.
The design is fairly simple and consists of a holder, a floating reel, a coil spring for retractable tension, and a cover. (See Figure 3). The uniqueness of the design is if we could use the above parts to also make the electrical connection to the control board. We believe we have found a way.
First the wire used would be a shielded 26-gage wire letting us use the shield as our ground connection. Both the shield and the center wire would be connected to the earpiece on one end. On the other end the shield would be connected (soldered) to the coil spring.
The coil spring would be configured in such a way as to have one end extend into the floating reel (this end would have the shield soldered to it) the other end would extend up above the cover to be soldered to the control bd. (see Figure 4). The wire would then snap into a metallic holder molded into the reel, which would also have the other end extend up with a cantilever beam to make contact to the cover.
The cover would have a molded in metallic ring that would have one end extend up above the cover to be soldered into the control bd. (see Figure 4). As a possible cost reduction and if size allows, the metal parts in both the reel and the cover could be plated plastic instead of metal parts molded into the plastic parts.
Finally for control of retraction of the earpiece there could be a button in the housing that releases a snap that naturally holds the reel from retracting until pushed or the force in the coil spring could be small enough to keep from pulling either the earpiece or the pager until retraction is desired.
[See the accompanying PDF files for the Figures]