(19)
(11)EP 3 685 888 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
29.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/31

(21)Application number: 20153446.8

(22)Date of filing:  23.01.2020
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A63B 5/11(2006.01)
A63B 21/02(2006.01)
A63B 71/02(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 26.01.2019 US 201962797214 P
26.01.2019 US 201962797215 P
26.01.2019 US 201962797216 P

(71)Applicant: Avero AB
415 26 Göteborg (SE)

(72)Inventor:
  • HAGEL, Tomas
    451 92 UDDEVALLA (SE)

(74)Representative: AWA Sweden AB 
P.O. Box 11394
404 28 Göteborg
404 28 Göteborg (SE)

  


(54)TRAMPOLINE WITH CORNER SUPPORT BAR


(57) Embodiments of the invention provide a plurality of support bars that may be fitted to the corner of a trampoline frame to provide increased stiffness for the trampoline frame. The support bars may be placed over or in the vicinity of the trampoline's legs to create a zone of increased stiffness. The support bars may also serve as an entry point to the trampoline such that the trampoline user need not stand on the trampoline's suspension system (e.g., helical springs) in order to enter the trampoline. The user may be protected from the support bars by the use of an edge pad filled with an energy absorbing material.




Description

FIELD



[0001] Embodiments of the invention relate to a support structure added to strengthen a trampoline's frame. Embodiments of the invention further relate to a trampoline comprising a supplemental support structure added to at least one corner of the trampoline frame.

BACKGROUND



[0002] The following description includes information that may be useful in understanding embodiments of the invention. It is not an admission that any of the information provided herein is prior art or relevant to the presently claimed invention, or that any publication specifically or implicitly referenced is prior art.

[0003] The modern trampoline era began in the mid-1930s, see, e.g., US2370990 by George Nissen who with Larry Griswold was instrumental in developing the modern trampoline. Even though trampolines were initially developed for competitive or professional purposes, trampolines for recreational use are nowadays popular home entertainment accessories.

[0004] A trampoline comprises a flexible mat, a frame, and at least one resilient member. The flexible mat is typically circular, oval, square, rectangular, or stadium (e.g. a rectangle with curved edges). The flexible mat may comprise a cloth or net-shaped structure. It may be made of a polymeric flexible material, such as polypropylene. The frame, conventionally made of metal, encompasses the flexible mat and typically has substantially the same shape as the flexible mat. A circular or oval flexible mat is typically surrounded by a circular or oval frame having a larger diameter than the flexible mat, and a square or rectangular flexible mat is typically surrounded by a substantially square or rectangular frame, which however may comprise rounded-off edges. Likewise, a stadium-shaped trampoline (e.g., a rectangle with curved edges) may have a stadium-shaped mat.

[0005] The flexible mat typically comprises a plurality of attachments distributed along the flexible mat's edge. The attachments are adapted to receive one or more resilient members for retaining the flexible mat under tension, creating a suspension system. The resilient members may comprise a plurality of springs (e.g. helical springs) that connect the edge of the flexible mat to the frame, thereby tensioning the flexible mat. When a person is using the flexible mat, i.e. jumping on it, the springs will extend in length and thereafter strive to return to their resting length. The spring may be attached to a loop, such as a D-shaped or triangle shaped ring, comprised in the flexible mat by means of a hook that attaches to the spring. Thus, the system of loops and D-rings comprise the plurality of attachments for the flexible mat to receive the resilient members.

[0006] In some trampoline embodiments, the resilient member may comprise an elastic cord. Normally, the elastic cord is long enough to go back and forth between the edge of the flexible mat and the frame several times. Each portion connecting the flexible mat to the frame then forms a segment, which correspond to a spring in the above example. The elastic cord may be so long, that only one elastic cord is utilized for the whole flexible mat, or a plurality of elastic cords may be used.

[0007] The flexible mat is conventionally surrounded by an edge pad, which is adapted to at least partly cover the at least one resilient member and/or the frame. The edge pad helps prevent users from stepping or landing between the resilient members, e.g. when climbing onto the flexible mat. The edge pad may also be arranged to cover the frame, thereby reducing a possible impact with the frame in case of stepping or landing on the frame. The edge pad is often made as a number of segments, the shapes of which are adapted to the frame and the flexible mat. For a circular or oval flexible mat, the segments may therefore be arc-shaped. For a square or rectangular flexible mat, rectangular segments may be used. For a stadium-shaped mat, the segments may comprise rectangular segments and curved segments.

[0008] While trampolines have improved in recent years, there nevertheless exists a continuous need to improve trampolines to help the sport enter the modern age, especially where such improvements can be accomplished in a commercially reasonable fashion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0009] Embodiments of the invention provide a trampoline, comprising a frame, a plurality of leg sections supporting the frame, and a plurality of support bars, wherein a number of support bars of the plurality of support bars equals a number of leg sections of the plurality of leg sections, wherein each support bar is attached to the frame at a location approximately above a corresponding leg section of the plurality of leg sections, wherein the plurality of support bars provides additional stiffness to the frame.

[0010] In some embodiments of the invention, a support bar of the plurality of support bars may provide a platform for users entering and leaving the trampoline.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0011] Embodiments of the invention will be further explained by means of nonlimiting examples with reference to the appended drawings. Figures provided herein may or may not be provided to scale. The relative dimensions or proportions may vary. It should be noted that the dimensions of some features of the present invention may have been exaggerated for the sake of clarity.

FIG. 1 illustrates a trampoline 100 having a support bar 106 that provides increased stiffness to the frame 103 of the trampoline 100, according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates an overhead view of a trampoline 200 having support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3A illustrates an overhead view of a trampoline 300a having support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3B provides an abstract view of a trampoline 300b illustrating how the support bars 306a-306d strengthen the area of the trampoline 300b bordered by the legs 305a-305d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4A illustrates a trampoline 400a having a support bar 406a to provide increased stiffness to a frame 403 of the trampoline 400a, according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4B illustrates a trampoline 400b having a support bar 406b to provide increased stiffness to the frame 403 of the trampoline 400b, according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5A illustrates a support bar 506 in a trampoline 500a, according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5B illustrates a trampoline 500b having a support bar 506 attached a distance 514 above the resilient member 508 of the trampoline's suspension system, according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a trampoline 600 having four corner support bars 606a-606d, according to an embodiment of the invention.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION



[0012] Embodiments of the invention provide a corner support bar along the trampoline frame's top rail on each of the corners of the frame. The corner support bar stiffens the trampoline's frame, especially in the region bordered by the trampoline support bar and the trampoline's legs which provides better trampoline operation overall and may increase the service life of the trampoline. In this application, frame stiffness refers to the resistance of the frame to movement, especially during trampoline use. Increased frame stiffness generally allows more kinetic energy from the trampoline mat to be imparted to the trampoline user, reduces noise in the trampoline during operation, and increases the frame's useable lifespan.

[0013] The corner support bar may also provide an entrance platform for the trampoline by providing a standing pad for trampoline users, according to an embodiment of the invention. This entrance platform comprises a location above the resilient members (e.g., the helical springs) where trampoline users conventionally stand when they enter a trampoline. This entrance spot presumably comprises just one of the four corner support bars for a rectangular, square trampoline, or stadium-shaped trampoline, for example, although some embodiments of the invention might allow for additional entrance and exit points. The corner support bar may also provide support for other uses, according to various embodiments of the invention.

[0014] For square, rectangular and stadium-shaped trampolines, the corner support bar can be formed where two edges of the trampoline frame intersect (either actually intersect or approximately intersect in the case of a stadium-shaped trampoline), particularly in the region immediately above the trampoline's legs. For circular trampolines, the corner support bars can be added at any location, although it is preferable for the corner support bars to be placed above the trampoline's legs, and it may be further preferable to locate the corner support bars equidistant from each other, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0015] The corner support bar should preferably not intrude (or only minimally intrude) on the surface area of the trampoline jumping flexible mat, and the corner support bar may be covered by the trampoline edge pad, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0016] FIG. 1 illustrates a trampoline 100 having a support bar 106 that provides increased stiffness to the frame 103 of the trampoline 100, according to an embodiment of the invention. The support bar 106 has been placed on the topline of the frame 103, as shown in FIG. 1, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0017] The trampoline 100 includes a flexible mat 101 held to the frame 103 by a plurality of resilient members 108. The fabric of the flexible mat 101 that users jump or bounce on is often not elastic itself, instead the resilient members 108 (e.g., helical springs) provide the elasticity which creates the potential energy that trampoline users enjoy as kinetic energy. Thus, the resilient members 108 provide a suspension system for the trampoline 100 that receives and reflects energy to the trampoline users. The resilient members 108 may comprise helical springs, according to an embodiment of the invention. The resilient members 108 are typically not attached directly to the flexible mat 101 but are instead attached to D-rings 113 that themselves are attached to the flexible mat 101. The resilient members 108 may attach to an underside of the frame 103, according to an embodiment of the invention. This approach lowers the stress placed on the flexible mat 101 by the plurality of resilient members 108. This arrangement of the suspension system is known in the prior art, such as shown in PCT/EP2017/057961, "Safety Net for a Trampoline, A Trampoline, and a Method of Arranging a Safety Net in a Trampoline," which is hereby incorporated by reference.

[0018] The resilient members 108 are attached at or adjacent to an edge 117 of the flexible mat 101 by attachments 119 that include D-shaped or triangle-shaped rings 113. The attachment 119 permits the at least one resilient member 108 to connect to the flexible mat 101. The resilient members 108 may attach to various points on the frame 103. As shown in FIG. 1, the resilient members 108 attach on the underside of the frame 103, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0019] The frame 103 has a resident level of stiffness that aids the plurality of resilient members 108 in providing a suspension for the trampoline 100. If the frame 103 can be made more rigid, then more of the energy input to the trampoline 100 will be reflected back to the users.

[0020] Attaching a plurality of support bars 106 to the frame 103 increases the stiffness of the frame 103, according to an embodiment of the invention. The support bars 106 may be placed, for example in each of the corners of a rectangular and/or square trampoline and/or at consistent locations on a round trampoline. The support bars 106 may be attached to the frame by a number of mechanisms from welding the support bars 106 to the frame 103 to bolting or screwing the support bars 106 to the frame 103.

[0021] The support bars 106 may be placed from one top rail side 111 of the frame 103 and extend to another side 133. The precise location of the support bar 106 may vary in various embodiments of the trampoline 100. However, the support bar 106 is likely to better achieve its goal of stiffening the frame 103 when the support bar is located above or in the vicinity of the trampoline's legs 105. This way the support bar 106 and the legs 105 beneath it effectively form a unified support structure, according to an embodiment of the invention. Among other things, the support bar 106 prevents the legs 105 from moving inwards towards the mat 101 because the support bar 106 tightens the frame 103, hindering movement in this direction, according to an embodiment of the invention. The legs 105 comprise a uniform leg section, joined at the bottom surface, that further connects to the frame 103 at a first location near a corner of the frame 103 and at a second location near another corner of the frame 105. Of course, in some embodiments the legs 105 may comprise separate leg sections not connected together.

[0022] In addition, the support bar 106 should not be located so close to the flexible mat 101 that the user may land on the support bar 106 during normal trampoline use. Thus, the support bar may run along a tangent to the corner of the flexible mat 101, as shown in FIG. 1. As will be shown in FIG. 5A, the support bar 106, like the frame 103, will typically be covered by an edge pad, such as the edge pad 504 shown in FIG. 5A. Thus, if the support bar 106 intrudes into the flexible mat 101, then the support bar 106 should be covered by the edge pad, reducing the available jumping area of the flexible mat 101.

[0023] The support bar 106 may also be used to provide support underneath the trampoline user when the trampoline user enters the trampoline 100. Because of vertical support leg 105, the trampoline 100 typically rests at a slightly higher elevation than the floor on which the trampoline 100 stands. Thus, the user typically needs to step up and into the trampoline 100 in order to use it. Consequently, users may find it helpful to have a semi-solid area on which to stand when entering and exiting the trampoline 100, and a semi-solid area on which to stand that is something other than the resilient members 108 covered by an edge pad.

[0024] FIG. 1 also shows a holder 110 for a vertical support pole. The vertical support poles will hold a safety net that prevents the user from falling off the trampoline 100.

[0025] FIG. 2 illustrates an overhead view of a trampoline 200 having support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0026] The trampoline 200 includes a flexible mat 201 held to a frame 203 by a plurality of resilient members 208. The fabric of the flexible mat 201 that users jump or bounce on is often not elastic itself, instead the resilient members 208 (e.g., helical springs) provide the elasticity which creates the potential energy. The resilient members 208 provide a suspension system for the trampoline 200 that receives and reflects energy to the trampoline users. The resilient members 208 may comprise helical springs, according to an embodiment of the invention. As discussed in FIG. 1, the resilient members 208 are typically not attached directly to the flexible mat 201 but are instead attached to D-rings that themselves are attached to the flexible mat 201. This approach lowers the stress placed on the flexible mat 201 by the plurality of resilient members 208.

[0027] The frame 203 has a resident level of stiffness that aids the plurality of resilient members 208 in providing a suspension for the trampoline 200. If the frame 203 can be made more rigid, then more of the energy input to the trampoline 200 will be reflected back to the users.

[0028] Attaching a plurality of support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d to the frame 203 increases the stiffness of the frame 203, according to an embodiment of the invention. The support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d may be placed, for example in each of the corners of a rectangular trampoline 200. The support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d may be attached to the frame 203 by a number of mechanisms from welding the support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d to the frame 203 to bolting or screwing the support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d to the frame 203.

[0029] The support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d may be placed from one side 211a, 211b, 211c, 211d of the frame 203 and extend to another side 213a, 213a, 213b, 213c, 213d.

[0030] The precise location of the support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d may vary in various embodiments of the trampoline 200. The support bars 206a-206d may be located directly above a respective leg 205a-205d, according to an embodiment of the invention. Placing the support bar 206a approximately above the leg 205c stiffness the portion of the frame 203 in the corner area, e.g., the portion of the frame from 211c to 213c. Thus, the portions of the frame 203 that will receive less benefit from the support bars 206a-206d are the areas of the frame 203 outside the support bars 206a-206d, e.g., the area of the frame 203 from 210b to 210c.

[0031] The support bar 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d should generally avoid intruding into the effective jumping area of the flexible mat 201. As a general rule, the support bar 206 should not be located so close to the flexible mat 201 that the user may land on the support bar 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d during normal trampoline use. FIG. 2 shows the support bar 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d running along lines tangent to corner points 220a, 220b, 220c, 220d of the flexible mat 201, which avoids the flexible mat 201. As will be shown in FIG. 5A, the support bar 206 like the frame 203 will typically be covered by an edge pad, such as the edge pad 504 shown in FIG. 5A.

[0032] The support bars 206a, 206b, 206c, and 206d may also be used to provide support underneath the user when the user enters the trampoline 200. Because of vertical support legs 205a, 205b, 205c, 205d, the trampoline 200 typically rests at a slightly higher elevation than the floor on which the trampoline 200 stands. Thus, the trampoline user needs to step up and into the trampoline 200 in order to use it. Consequently, trampoline users may find it helpful to have a semi-solid area on which to stand when entering and exiting the trampoline 200. In conventional trampolines, the users often enter the trampoline by stepping on the resilient members 208 covered by an edge pad, which causes extra wear on the resilient members 208 and can pose a safety hazard.

[0033] FIG. 2 also shows holders 210a-210h for a vertical support pole. The vertical support poles may hold a safety net that prevents the user from falling off the trampoline 200.

[0034] FIG. 3A illustrates an overhead view of a trampoline 300a having support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0035] The trampoline 300a includes a flexible mat 301 held to a frame 303 by a plurality of resilient members 308. The fabric of the flexible mat 301 that users jump or bounce on is often not elastic itself, instead the resilient members 308 (e.g., helical springs) provide the elasticity which creates the potential energy that the users enjoy as kinetic energy. The resilient members 308 provide a suspension system for the trampoline 300a that receives and reflects energy to the trampoline users. The resilient members 308 may comprise helical springs, according to an embodiment of the invention. As discussed in connection with FIG. 1, the resilient members 308 are typically not attached directly to the flexible mat 301 but are instead attached to D-rings 333 that themselves are attached to the flexible mat 301. This approach lowers the stress placed on the flexible mat 301 by the plurality of resilient members 308.

[0036] The frame 303 has a resident level of stiffness that aids the plurality of resilient members 308 in providing a suspension for the trampoline 300a. If the frame 308 can be made more rigid, then more of the energy input to the trampoline 300a will be reflected back to the users.

[0037] Attaching a plurality of support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d to the frame 303 increases the stiffness of the frame 303, according to an embodiment of the invention. The support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d may be placed, for example in each of the corners of a rectangular trampoline 300a, according to an embodiment of the invention. The support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d may be attached to the frame 303 by a number of mechanisms from welding the support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d to the frame 303 to bolting or screwing the support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d to the frame 303.

[0038] The support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d may respectively be placed from one side 311a, 311b, 311c, 311d of the frame 303 and extend to another side 313a, 313a, 313b, 313c, 313d. The precise location of the support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d may vary in various embodiments of the trampoline 300a. As illustrated more clearly in FIG. 3B, placing support bars over the trampoline's legs creates an area in the trampoline frame 303 of particularly increased stiffness, e.g., placing the support bar 306a over legs 305a.

[0039] Another consideration in the location of the support bars 306a-306d is the amount that the support bar 306a-306d that should extend into the effective area of the flexible mat 301. As a general rule, the support bar 306 should not be located so close to the flexible mat 301 that the user may land on the support bar 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d during normal jumping.

[0040] FIG. 3A shows the support bar 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d respectively running along lines tangent to corner points 330a, 330b, 330c, 330d of the flexible mat 301. As will be shown in FIG. 5A, the support bar 306 like the frame 303 will typically be covered by an edge pad, such as the edge pad 504 shown in FIG. 5A.

[0041] The support bars 306a, 306b, 306c, and 306d may also provide support underneath the user when the user enters the trampoline 300a. Because of vertical support legs 305a, 305b, 305c, 305d, the trampoline 300a typically rests at a slightly higher elevation that the floor on which the trampoline 300a stands. Thus, the trampoline user needs to step up and into the trampoline 300a in order to use it. Consequently, trampoline users may find it helpful to have a semi-solid area on which to stand when entering and exiting the trampoline 300a.

[0042] FIG. 3A also shows holders 310a-310h for a vertical support pole. The vertical support poles may hold a safety net that prevents the user from falling off the trampoline 300a.

[0043] FIG. 3B provides an abstract view of a trampoline 300b illustrating how the support bars 306a-306d strengthen the area of the trampoline 300b bordered by the legs 305a-305d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0044] The boxes 304a-304d respectively show regions of frame stiffening on the frame 303 brought about by the combination of a support bar and the frame's legs, e.g., the support bar 306a in combination with the legs 305a. Thus, the region of the frame 303 that receives less stiffening from the support bars 306a-306d is the region of the frame 303 located between the support bars 306a-306d. Referring to FIG. 3A, this would be the regions of the frame between points 313c-311b, 311a-313b, 311d-313a, 313d-311c with regions of heightened stiffening running between points 311a-313a, 311b-313b, 311c-313c, and 311d-313d, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0045] Applying the dimensions of an actual trampoline to the trampoline 300b yields the following. The trampoline 300b has an approximately rectangular shape. Assume that the trampoline 300b ranges from approximately 10 feet (roughly 3048 mm) on its narrower side to approximately 15 feet (roughly 4522 mm) on its longer side. The boxes 304a-304d at the level of the frame 303 on the longer side of the frame 303 each have a dimension of approximately 1117 mm on the long side of the frame. If shown, the boxes 304a-304d would cover 620 mm on the short side of the frame 303. Thus, the long side of the frame 303 comprises approximately 2234 mm of combined support bar strength, e.g., the support bars 306a, 306d on one of the long sides of the trampoline 303b or 306b, 306c on the other long side of trampoline 303b. The short side of the frame 303 comprises approximately 1240 mm of combined support bar strength, e.g., the support bars 306d, 306c on one of the short sides of the trampoline 303b or 306a, 306b on the other short side of the trampoline. Thus, for a trampoline that is 3048 mm by 4522 mm with two support bars covering 1117 mm (or 2234 mm together) on each long side, then the long side has only 2288 mm not directly supported by the support bars, and with two support bars covering 620 mm (or 1240 mm together) on each short side, then the short side has 1808 mm not directly supported by the support bars, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0046] The additional stiffness provided by the support bars, such as the support bar 306a, to the frame 303 can be calculated using an appropriate set of beam bending calculations. FIG. 3C provides the conventional equations for calculating the deflection in a beam. These equations should be well known to an ordinary artisan in the relevant field and will not be otherwise explained here.

[0047] FIGs. 3D-3G provide calculations related to the stiffness provided in a trampoline frame having the dimensions of approximately 10 feet by 15 feet (roughly 3048 mm x 4522 mm) described in FIG. 3B under three different scenarios related to support bars, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0048] The stiffness or deflection calculations applicable to these three scenarios are as follows. The ordinarily skilled artisan should note that the following calculations include some simplifications. To make a more accurate calculation than the calculations provided here, an ordinarily skilled artisan would need to perform a complete Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis. Gaps in joints, such as the joints of a trampoline frame (e.g., the trampoline frame 300a shown in FIG. 3a) may have a large impact on overall frame stiffness but have not been included in the calculations provided here.

[0049] Three different load scenarios have been provided herein. FIG. 3D provides the first scenario of a frame having no reinforcement bar. FIG. 3E provides the second scenario of a frame having support bars 306a, 306d similar to the support bar 106 shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 3F illustrates a third scenario in which a section of a trampoline also has mini-support bars 360a, 360d provided across a small portion of a trampoline's frame. The mini-support bars 360a, 360d provide support for the trampoline frame at the point where the springs essentially begin. The mini-support bars 360a, 360d cannot be made larger without interfering with placement of the springs attached to the top rail of the trampoline frame shown in FIG. 3F.

[0050] The trampolines in these three scenarios include a mat 301, resilient members 308, and a frame 303 (FIG. 3D, FIG. 3E) or a frame 370 (FIG. 3F), and legs 305a, 305d.

[0051] For each of the three scenarios described, the calculations have been made for two cases, a point load P 352 at the center of the frame 303 and a widened load q 351 between the intended support bar attachment locations. A comparison is provided between these two cases for these scenarios. The actual performance of a real trampoline frame is likely somewhere between these values.

[0052] In addition to the equations shown in FIG. 3C, additionally relevant values for these scenarios are: q = P/Lb, E = 210 GPa, Ipipe = π (D4 - d4) /64, where D = 60 mm and d = 55 mm. P is set at 150 kg where Lb is the length between the two support bars on the trampoline's long side (e.g., the length between the end of support bar 306a and the end of support bar 306d on the same side of trampoline 300c shown in FIG. 3E), Ipipe is the moment of expression of the frame pipe (the hollow trampoline frame), D is the outer diameter of the frame pipe, and d is the inner diameter of the frame pipe.

[0053] FIG. 3D illustrates the load or stiffness case in a trampoline 300c that has no support bar, such as the support bar 106 illustrated in FIG. 1. In other words, the trampoline 300c represents a conventional trampoline.

[0054] Applying the trampoline dimensions shown in FIG. 3B to the scenario shown in FIG. 3D and using the equations shown in FIG. 3C as well as those described above, leads to these calculations for the trampoline 300c:
La = 4522 mm, where La is the length of a side of the trampoline frame







[0055] FIG. 3E illustrates the load or stiffness case in a trampoline 300b (also shown in FIG. 3B) that has support bars 306a, 306d dimensioned similarly to the support bar 106 illustrated in FIG. 1. If FIG. 3E showed the trampoline 300b in complete detail, it would also include support bars 306b, 306c, as shown in FIG. 3A. In other words, the trampoline 300b represents an embodiment of the invention.

[0056] Applying the trampoline dimensions shown in FIG. 3B to the scenario shown in FIG. 3E and using the equations shown in FIG. 3C as well as those described above, leads to these calculations for the trampoline 300b:







[0057] FIG. 3F illustrates a trampoline 300d having mini-support bars 360a, 360d provided across a corner of the trampoline's frame 370. The mini-support bars 360a, 360d provide support for the frame 370 at point where the springs 308 begin. The mini-support bars 360a, 360d include at least one spring 308. The mini-support bars 360a, 360d cannot extend across a larger corner of the frame 370 without interfering with placement of the springs 308, which are attached to the upper portion of the trampoline frame 370. As previously discussed with respect to the trampoline 300a shown in FIG. 3A, the springs 308 for this trampoline attach along a lower or bottom portion of the frame 303. In the trampoline 300d shown in FIG. 3F, the mini-support bars 360a, 360d cross from one side of the frame 370 to the other side of the frame 370 at an approximately 45° angle.

[0058] FIG. 3G provides a close up of the mini-support bar 360d shown in FIG. 3F. The trampoline 300d comprises a mini-support bar 360d having one resilient member 308 and placed at an approximately 45° angle between two other resilient members. As shown in FIG. 3G, these resilient members 308 are connected to a top side 380 of the frame 303d.

[0059] Applying the trampoline dimensions shown in FIG. 3B to the scenario shown in FIG. 3F and using the equations shown in FIG. 3C as well as those described above, leads to these calculations for the trampoline 300d:

where Lc relates to the length of the mini-support bars 360a, 360d





[0060] Comparing the scenarios shown in FIGs. 3B-3F leads to the following comparative calculations.

[0061] Trampoline 300c from FIG. 3D compared with Trampoline 300b from FIG. 3E:





[0062] Trampoline 300c from FIG. 3D compared with Trampoline 300d from FIG. 3F:





[0063] Trampoline 300b from FIG. 3E compared with Trampoline 300d from FIG. 3F:





[0064] Thus, the support bar 306a, 306d shown in FIG. 3E contributes to a reduced bending rate of between 8-15 times compared to not having a support bar at all as shown in FIG. 3D. Comparing the support bars 306a, 306d with the mini-support bars 360a, 360d shown in FIG. 3F, yields a deflection decrease between 5-8 times for the support bars 306a, 306d.

[0065] In absolute terms, the scenarios shown in FIG. 3D-3F yield the following equations. To see the kind of bends these three scenarios provided in millimeters (mm), yields the following values when inserted into the equations previously provided.











where D = 60 mm and d = 55 mm. P is set to 150 kg, also 1500 N.

[0066] The stiffness scenario shown in FIG. 3D for the trampoline frame 300c yields the following:





[0067] The stiffness scenario shown in FIG. 3E for the trampoline frame 300b yields the following:





[0068] The stiffness scenario shown in FIG. 3F for the trampoline frame 300d yields the following:





[0069] In summary, the deflection shown in the FIGs. 3C-3F illustrate that the support bars 306a, 306d provide a substantially stiffer frame than the alternatives discussed. These calculated numbers only consider the long beam of the trampoline bending inward and do not take into account that the trampoline can also bends downwards. Of course, the support bars (e.g., the support bar 306a) also bend although together the frame and the support bar become quite stiff. The remaining movements such as slipping in joints are not included and these can probably be considered significant relative to the bending of the frame.

[0070] In the first stiffness scenario for the trampoline 300c having no reinforcing support bar, the trampoline has an inward deflection is about 18 mm.

[0071] In the third stiffness scenario for the trampoline 300d having the mini-support bars 360a, 360d, the inward deflection is about 11 mm.

[0072] In the second stiffness scenario that shows a support bar 306a, 306d similar to the support bar 106 shown in FIG. 1, the inward deflection is about 2 mm.

[0073] The difference is thus considerable in terms of the deflection of the long top rail beam.

[0074] FIG. 3H illustrates a trampoline 300e that provides an alternative embodiment for providing a stiffer trampoline frame. In the trampoline 300e, the conventionally hollow frame 303 has been filled with a material 392 that increases the mass of the frame 303.

[0075] The material 392 is not typically added to the frame 303 until assembly. In addition, if the trampoline 303e is provided as a kit, it is possible that the material 392 may not be provided with the kit due to weight considerations.

[0076] The material 392 may be inserted into the frame 303 via an opening 391, and the material 392 may be inserted in a liquid form that dries to a solid form. Because the resilient member 308 will still need to be inserted into the frame 303, a guard 390 may be inserted into the frame 303. The guard 390 will hold an area of the frame 303 open such that the resilient member 308 may still be inserted into the frame 303. If the material 392 enters the frame in a liquid form and then dries, then the guard 390 serves its purpose primarily during the phase in which the material 392 is liquid and moveable, according to an embodiment of the invention. Alternatively, if the material 392 comprises a liquid (e.g., a high viscosity liquid) that remains in liquid form for simplified relocation of the trampoline, then the guard 390 may prevent the material 392 from leaking, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0077] The material 392 could comprise a material known for hardening into a solid form such as concrete, plastic, solidified foam, plaster, or sealing foam. The material 392 could also comprise gravel, as well as a variety of novel materials.

[0078] FIG. 4A illustrates a trampoline 400a having a support bar 406a to provide increased stiffness to a frame 403 of the trampoline 400a, according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

[0079] The trampoline 400a resembles the trampoline 100 shown in FIG. 1. The support bar 406a is attached to the frame 403 at points 420a, 430a and covers the distance between points 420a, 430a in an essentially straight manner while traversing near a corner point 425 on a flexible mat 401.

[0080] FIG. 4B illustrates a trampoline 400b having a support bar 406b to provide increased stiffness to the frame 403 of the trampoline 400b, according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

[0081] The trampoline 400b resembles the trampoline 100 shown in FIG. 1 except that the support bar 406b has a pronounced bend at point 410b where section 412b bends into section 411b. The support bar 406b is attached to the frame 403 at points 420b, 430b and covers the distance between points 420b, 430b. The support bar 406b has one portion 410b and a second portion 411b that bow outward at point 410b near the corner point 425 on the flexible mat 401. Thus, the support bar 406b bypasses the corner 425 by a distance 450.

[0082] The support bar 406b may provide increased safety over the support bar 406a, although the support bar 406b likely does not stiffen the frame 403 as effectively as the support bar 406a, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0083] FIG. 5A illustrates a support bar 506 in a trampoline 500a having an edge pad 504, according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

[0084] The frame 503 has a resident level of stiffness that aids the plurality of resilient members 508 in providing a suspension for the trampoline 500a. If the frame 503 can be made more rigid, then more of the energy input to the trampoline 500a will be reflected back to the users.

[0085] Attaching a plurality of support bars 506 to the frame 503 increases the stiffness of the frame 503, according to an embodiment of the invention. The support bars 506 may be placed, for example in each of the corners of a rectangular trampoline. Placing the support bar 506 over the legs 515 creates a particular zone of increased stiffness as discussed in conjunction with FIG. 3B. The support bars 506 may be attached to the frame 503 by a number of mechanisms from welding the support bars 506 to the frame 503 to bolting or screwing the support bars 506 to the frame 503.

[0086] The support bar 506 may be placed from one side 511 of the frame 503 and extend to another side 509. The precise location of the support bar 506 may vary in various embodiments of the trampoline 500a. One consideration is the amount of the support bar 506 that extends into the effective area of the trampoline's flexible mat 501. As a general rule, the support bar 506 should not be located so close to the flexible mat 501 that the user may land on the support bar 506 during normal trampoline use. As shown in FIG. 3A, for example, the support bar 306a passes tangent to a point 330a on the flexible mat 301.

[0087] The support bar 506 may also be used to provide support underneath the user when the user enters the trampoline 500a. Because of vertical support leg 515, the trampoline 500a typically rests at a slightly higher elevation than the floor on which the trampoline 500a stands. Thus, the trampoline user needs to step up and into the trampoline 500a in order to use it. Consequently, trampoline users may find it helpful to have a semi-solid area on which to stand when entering and exiting the trampoline 500a.

[0088] The support bar 506 like the frame 503 will typically be covered by an edge pad, such as edge pad 504. The edge pad 504 comprises a covering that has been crimped or folded to facilitate the insertion of a cushioning flexible material 516 into the edge pad 504, according to an embodiment of the invention. The cover of the edge pad 504 may comprise a durable plastic flexible material while the cushioning flexible material 516 may comprise a flexible material such as foam rubber.

[0089] The edge pad 504 covers the frame 503, the support bar 506, and the trampoline suspension system comprising a resilient member 508. The resilient member 508 (e.g., a coiled spring), one member of the set of resilient members of the trampoline suspension system, attaches at one end to the frame 503 and at the other end to a D-ring 513 that itself attaches to the flexible mat 501 in a manner similar to that disclosed in conjunction with FIG. 1.

[0090] Trampoline users jump or bounce on the flexible mat 501 in a generally vertical direction and possibly also move in a horizontal direction perpendicular to the vertical. The edge pad 504 lies on top of the suspension system comprising the resilient member 508 to protect trampoline users from harm as they jump on the flexible mat 501 since they could possibly land on the suspension system and become injured. The edge pad 504 generally serves to eliminate and/or reduce the severity of impact injuries. To prevent user bodily appendages from coming into contact with the resilient members of the suspension system, the edge pad 504 should be attached to the flexible mat 501, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0091] FIG. 5B illustrates a trampoline 500b having a support bar 506 attached a distance 514 above the resilient member 508 of the trampoline's suspension system, according to an embodiment of the invention. The trampoline 500b resembles the trampoline 500a in all respects except that the edge pa 504 has been removed in FIG. 5B.

[0092] The support bar 506 is attached to the frame 503 at points 509, 511. The resilient member 508 attaches below the frame 503 and attaches to a D-ring 513 that attaches to the flexible mat 501.

[0093] As noted above, the support frame 506 resides a distance 514 above the resilient member 508. The distance 514 allows the resilient member 508 to bend and flex during normal operations without hitting the support bar 506. The distance 514 also provides greater separation between trampoline users and the plurality of resilient members 508.

[0094] FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a trampoline 600 having four corner support bars 606a-606d, according to an embodiment of the invention. A cutaway section of FIG. 6 illustrates the support bar 606a. The trampoline 600 comprises a flexible mat 601 and an edge pad 604.

[0095] The flexible mat 601 is encompassed by the frame 611. The frame 611 comprises legs 615, such that the trampoline 600 stands on the ground 619 via the legs 615.

[0096] Edge pad 604 covers the plurality of resilient members 608 (e.g., a coiled spring) and the frame 611 and the support bars 606a-606d. FIG. 6 shows the resilient member 608 in a cutaway of the edge pad 604.

[0097] The resilient members 608 surround the flexible mat 601 and attach to the frame 611. The edge pad 604 would normally provide a complete covering without the cutaway portion shown in FIG. 6. In the illustrated embodiment, the flexible mat 601 and the surrounding frame 611 are shown as rectangular, but they may also be e.g. oval, square, circular, or stadium-shaped.

[0098] The trampoline 600 includes a safety net 617 attached to a plurality of safety poles 620. The safety net 617 may attach to the outside edge of the edge pad 604, according to an embodiment of the invention. The safety net 617 and safety poles 620 may be configured in a manner such as disclosed in the applicants' PCT/EP2017/057961 and/or as disclosed in applicants' pending EP18154158.2 application. Both applications are incorporated herein by reference.

[0099] The safety net 617 prevents a user from falling off the flexible mat 601 and hitting the ground 619. The safety net 617 may be retained by a safety net retainer, e.g. a number of support poles 620 extending upwardly from the frame 611 for carrying the safety net 617 surrounding the flexible mat 601, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0100] Embodiments of the invention may comprise a kit that is provided to the user in the form of a series of parts, such as a flexible mat, an edge pad, a frame (possibly in a number of pieces), a plurality of resilient members, and other components. Instructions for assembling a trampoline comprising these parts can be provided to the user.

[0101] The trampolines described herein, such as but not limited to the trampoline 600 shown in FIG. 6, particularly assembly outside of the factory where they were made such as by a user or a delivery person. The assembly can typically be accomplished by hand or with a minimum number of tools, according to an embodiment of the invention. The legs (e.g., the legs 615 shown in FIG. 6) are typically attached to the frame (e.g., the frame 611. The resilient members (e.g., the resilient members 608) may be next attached to the fame, e.g., the frame 611. The edge pad, e.g., the edge pad 604 may be next placed on top of the frame 611 and the resilient members. The safety poles 620 may be next attached to the frame, and the safety net 617 may be next attached. In some embodiments, the safety net 617 may need to be attached or placed between the flexible mat 601 and the resilient members 608 prior to the connection of the flexible may 806 and the resilient members 608, according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0102] Further modifications of the invention within the scope of the appended claims are feasible. As such, the present invention should not be considered as limited by the embodiments and figures described herein. Rather, the full scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims, with reference to the description and drawings.

[0103] Various embodiments of the invention have been described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. References made to particular examples and implementations are for illustrative purposes, and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention or the claims.

[0104] It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that many more modifications of the trampoline besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject flexible matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except by the scope of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context.

[0105] Headings and sub-headings provided herein have been provided as an assistance to the reader and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention disclosed herein. Headings and sub-headings are not intended to be the sole or exclusive location for the discussion of a particular topic.

[0106] While specific embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be clear that the invention is not limited to these embodiments only. Embodiments of the invention discussed herein may have generally implied the use of flexible materials from certain named equipment manufacturers; however, the invention may be adapted for use with equipment from other sources and manufacturers. Equipment used in conjunction with the invention may be configured to operate according to conventional methods and protocols and/or may be configured to operate according to specialized protocols. Numerous modifications, changes, variations, substitutions and equivalents will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described in the claims. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, but should be construed to include all systems and methods that operate under the claims set forth hereinbelow. Thus, it is intended that the invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

[0107] All publications herein are incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application were specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference. Where a definition or use of a term in an incorporated reference is inconsistent or contrary to the definition of that term provided herein, the definition of that term provided herein applies and the definition of that term in the reference does not apply.


Claims

1. A trampoline, comprising:

a frame (103);

a plurality of leg sections (105) supporting the frame (103);

a plurality of support bars (106), wherein a number of support bars of the plurality of support bars (106) equals a number of leg sections of the plurality of leg sections (105), wherein each support bar is attached to the frame (103) at a location approximately above a corresponding leg section of the plurality of leg sections (105), wherein the plurality of support bars (106) increases stiffness of the frame by at least 2 times.


 
2. The trampoline of claim 1, further comprising:

a flexible mat;

a plurality of resilient members attached to the frame and to the flexible mat, wherein the resilient members receive kinetic energy from a trampoline user jumping on the flexible mat, enabling the trampoline user to be lifted above a surface of the flexible mat,

wherein the plurality of resilient members are attached to the frame at a location below a location where the plurality of support bars are attached to the frame such that the plurality of resilient members avoid contact with the plurality of support bars when the trampoline user jumps on the flexible mat.


 
3. The trampoline of Claim 2 wherein each resilient member of the plurality of resilient members comprises a helical spring.
 
4. The trampoline of Claim 1, further comprising:

a flexible mat;

an edge pad resting on an upper surface of the frame and extending to the flexible mat, wherein the edge pad includes a flexible material that absorbs shock from a trampoline user falling on the edge pad, wherein the edge pad also covers the plurality of support bars.


 
5. The trampoline of Claim 4, further comprising:

a plurality of poles attached to the frame, each pole of the plurality of poles extending vertically above the frame;

a safety net connected to each pole of the plurality of poles and also connected to the edge pad.


 
6. The trampoline of Claim 1 wherein the frame has one of a substantially rectangular shape, a substantially square shape, a substantially circular shape, a substantially oval shape, and a substantially stadium shape.
 
7. The trampoline of Claim 1, further comprising:

a flexible mat;

a plurality of resilient members attached to the frame and to the flexible mat, wherein the resilient members receive kinetic energy from a trampoline user jumping on the flexible mat, enabling the trampoline user to be lifted above a surface of the flexible mat,

wherein each support bar of the plurality of support bars is attached to the frame in such a manner as to form a line tangent to a corner of the flexible mat.


 
8. The trampoline of Claim 1, further comprising:

a flexible mat;

a plurality of resilient members attached to the frame and to the flexible mat, wherein the resilient members receive kinetic energy from a trampoline user jumping on the flexible mat, enabling the trampoline user to be lifted above a surface of the flexible mat,

wherein each support bar of the plurality of support bars comprises a first portion and a second portion wherein the first portion and the second portion bend substantially at a location corresponding to a corner of the flexible mat.


 
9. The trampoline of Claim 1 wherein at least one support bar of the plurality of support bars is attached to the frame in a manner to provide a platform for a trampoline user entering the trampoline.
 
10. The trampoline of Claim 1 wherein a leg section of the plurality of leg sections comprises a uniform leg section that connects to the frame at a first location near a corner of the frame and connects to the frame at a second location near the corner of the frame.
 
11. The trampoline of Claim 1 wherein each support bar of the plurality of support bars is attached to the frame by one of welding, soldering, bolting, screwing and hook fastening.
 
12. The trampoline of Claim 1 wherein the plurality of support bars increases stiffness of the frame in a range from 8 to 15 times.
 
13. The trampoline of Claim 1 wherein the frame is hollow.
 
14. The trampoline of Claim 14 wherein the frame is adapted to be filled with a liquid that provides increased frame stiffness.
 
15. The trampoline of Claim 1, further comprising:

a flexible mat;

a plurality of resilient members, wherein a first portion of the plurality of resilient members are attached to the frame and to the flexible mat, wherein a second portion of the plurality of resilient members are attached to support bars of the plurality of support bars, wherein the resilient members of the plurality of resilient members receive kinetic energy from a trampoline user jumping on the flexible mat, enabling the trampoline user to be lifted above a surface of the flexible mat.


 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description