Researchers Submit Patent Application, Modular Floor Tile with Resilient Support Members, for

Researchers Submit Patent Application, Modular Floor Tile with Resilient Support Members, for

Researchers Submit Patent Application, «Modular Floor Tile with Resilient Support Members», for Approval

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week — From Washington, D.C. VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Moller. JR. Jorgen J. ( Salt Lake City, UT ); Shapiro, Jeremiah D. ( Herriman, UT ), filed on May 5, 2014. was made available online on September 4, 2014 .

The patent’s assignee is SnapSports Company .

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: «Floor tiles have traditionally been used for many different purposes, including both aesthetic and utilitarian purposes. For example, floor tiles of a particular color may be used to accentuate an object displayed on top of the tiles. Alternatively, floor tiles may be used to simply protect the surface beneath the tiles from various forms of damage. Floor tiles typically comprise individual panels that are placed on the ground either permanently or temporarily depending on the application. A permanent application may involve adhering the tiles to the floor in some way, whereas a temporary application would simply involve setting the tiles on the floor. Some floor tiles can be interconnected to one another to cover large floor areas such as a garage, an office, or a show floor. Other interconnected tile systems are used as dance floors and sports court surfaces.

«However, typical interconnected tile systems are rigid and unforgiving. Short and long term use of modular floors for sports activities and dance can result in discomfort to the users. Conventional interconnected tile systems absorb little, if any, of the impact associated with walking, running, jumping, and dancing. Consequently, some users may experience pain or discomfort of the joints when using the interconnected tile systems. Therefore, there is a need for modular interconnected tile systems that include features that provide a more comfortable, useful surface.»

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent application: «Some embodiments address the above-described needs and others. In one of many possible embodiments, a modular floor tile is provided. The modular floor tile comprises a top surface, a plurality of edge surfaces, an interlocking mechanism for attachment to adjacent tiles, and a support system comprising multiple levels of support. In one embodiment, at least one of the multiple levels of support comprises a first resilient level, and another of the multiple levels of support comprises a first rigid level. In one embodiment, the first resilient level comprises a plurality of inserts disposed under the top surface. In one embodiment, the first resilient level comprises a plurality of interconnected elastomeric removable inserts nested under the top surface. In one embodiment, each of the plurality of inserts comprises a length equal to or greater than a height of the plurality of edge surfaces. In one embodiment, the plurality of inserts each comprise a generally cylindrical post. In one embodiment, the at least one insert comprises a base and a post extending from the base. According to one embodiment, the top surface comprises a solid surface.

«In one embodiment of the modular floor tile, the first rigid level of the multiple levels of support comprises a first set of support legs having a first length extending from the top surface, and the multiple levels of support comprise a second rigid level comprising a second set of support legs having a second length, the second length being shorter than the first length. In one embodiment, the first and second sets of support legs are arranged in an alternating pattern comprising a first leg of the first length, a group of three to four legs of the second length, and the resilient level comprises a plurality of inserts nested in the group of three to four legs. The resilient level may extend in length beyond the first and second rigid levels. In one embodiment, the first resilient level comprises a plate of multiple inserts interconnected by a webbing, the plate shaped substantially the same as the top surface.

«In one embodiment of the modular floor tile, the top surface comprises an open surface. The open surface comprising a pattern of gaps, and the first resilient level comprises a plurality of elastomeric inserts with a length greater than a height of the edge surfaces, each of the plurality of inserts comprising a base and a post extending from the base. The post is sized small enough to pass through one of the gaps, and the base is sized large enough to resist passage through one of the gaps. In one embodiment, each of the plurality of elastomeric inserts comprises a post straddling the open surface at the gaps.

«In one embodiment of the modular floor tile, the interlocking mechanism comprises a plurality of lipped loops disposed in at least one of the plurality of edge surfaces, and a plurality of locking tab assemblies disposed in at least one of the plurality of edge surfaces. Each of the plurality of locking tab assemblies comprises a center post and flanking hooks.

«One embodiment provides an apparatus comprising a modular floor. The modular floor comprises a plurality of interlocking tiles connected to one another. Each of the plurality of interlocking tiles comprises a top surface and a plurality of support levels under the top surface. The plurality of support levels comprises at least one rigid level and at least one flexible level extending beyond the at least one rigid level. In one embodiment, at least one flexible level comprises a plurality of elastomeric inserts, and each of the plurality of interlocking tiles comprises a bottom, the bottom including a plurality of receivers sized to hold one of the plurality of elastomeric inserts.

«One aspect provides a method of making a modular floor. The method comprises providing an interlocking modular tile having a top surface and a bottom plane parallel to and spaced from the top surface, inserting a plurality of resilient inserts into associated nests opposite of the top surface, and protruding the plurality of resilient inserts beyond the bottom plane. In one aspect, the top surface comprises a solid top surface, and the inserting further comprises contacting an underside of the top surface with the plurality of resilient inserts. In one aspect, inserting comprises inserting the resilient inserts as a single, interconnected unit of inserts. In one aspect, inserting further comprises fitting the plurality of resilient inserts into a nest by an interference fit. In one aspect, the top surface comprises an open surface, and inserting comprises pressing the plurality of resilient inserts through associated gaps in the first open surface in a first direction.

«In one aspect of the method, the plurality of resilient inserts comprise a first support level. In one aspect, the method further comprises providing a second, rigid support level flush with the bottom plane, and providing a third, rigid support level between the bottom plane and the top surface.

«One aspect provides a method of making a modular tile comprising forming a tile body having a solid top surface, providing a plurality of elastomeric inserts having a length at least as great as a height of the tile body, and pressing the plurality of elastomeric inserts into nests under the solid top surface. In one aspect, providing a plurality of elastomeric inserts comprises providing an interconnected webbing of the elastomeric inserts.

«According to at least one embodiment, a modular floor tile may comprise a top surface layer, a plurality of edge surfaces, an interlocking mechanism for attachment to adjacent tiles, and a support system. The support system may comprise a first rigid level and at least one resilient support member disposed under the top surface layer, the at least one resilient support member extending to a distance further from the top surface layer than the first rigid level, wherein the at least one resilient support member is compressible toward the top surface layer.

«According to an additional embodiment, an apparatus may comprise a modular floor, the modular floor comprising a plurality of interlocking tiles connected to one another. Each of the plurality of interlocking tiles may comprise a top surface layer and a plurality of edge surfaces. Each of the plurality of interlocking tiles may also comprise a plurality of support levels under the top surface layer, the plurality of support levels comprising at least one rigid level and at least one resilient support member disposed under the top surface layer, wherein the at least one resilient support member may be compressible toward the top surface layer.

«According to various aspects, a method of forming a modular floor may comprise providing an interlocking modular tile having a top surface layer, a bottom plane substantially parallel to and spaced from the top surface layer, and a first rigid support level flush with the bottom plane. The method may further comprise inserting a plurality of resilient inserts into associated nests adjacent to the top surface layer such that the plurality of resilient inserts protrude beyond the bottom plane.

«The foregoing features and advantages, together with other features and advantages, will become more apparent when referring to the following specification, claims and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

«The accompanying drawings illustrate various embodiments and are a part of the specification. The illustrated embodiments are merely examples and do not limit the claims.

«FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a modular floor tile with an open top surface and a plurality of non-slip inserts according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 2 is a magnified inset of a portion of the modular floor tile of FIG. 1.

«FIG. 3 is a partial bottom assembly view of the modular floor tile of FIG. 1.

«FIG. 4 is a magnified partial cross-sectional view of the modular floor tile of FIG. 1.

«FIG. 5 is a magnified bottom perspective view of the modular floor tile of FIG. 1.

«FIG. 6 is a perspective assembly view of multiple modular floor tiles according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 7 is partial cross sectional view of the modular floor tiles of FIG. 6 illustrating the connection between tiles according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a modular floor arranged as a sports court according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 9 is a bottom perspective cut-away view of a partial tile and a plurality of interconnected inserts according to another embodiment.

«FIG. 10 is a top perspective cut-away view of the tile and nonslip inserts of FIG. 9.

«FIG. 11 is an assembly view of a full tile and multiple interconnected inserts according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 12 is a side view of a tile with multiple levels of support according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 13 is a side view of a tile with multiple levels of support under a load according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 14 is an assembly view of a tile with multiple levels of support and a solid top surface according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 15 is a bottom assembly view of a full tile with a solid top surface and multiple interconnected inserts according to one embodiment.

«FIG. 16 is a perspective top view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 17 is a perspective partial bottom view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 18 is a perspective bottom view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 19 is a perspective bottom assembly view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 20 is a bottom view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 21 is a cross-sectional side view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 22 is a perspective bottom view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional side view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 24 is a bottom view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 25 is a cross-sectional side view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 26 is a cross-sectional side view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 27 is a cross-sectional side view of a modular tile according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 28 is a perspective top view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 29 is a cross-sectional side view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 30 is a perspective top view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«FIG. 31 is a cross-sectional side view of a resilient support member according to at least one embodiment.

«Throughout the drawings, identical reference numbers designate similar, but not necessarily identical, elements.»

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Keywords for this news article include: SnapSports Company .

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