Patent application title: COLLAPSIBLE DROPPINGS COLLECTOR
Michael Richard Pluta (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AE01H112FI
Class name: Handling: hand and hoist-line implements sanitary handler for pet droppings pole mounted
Publication date: 2015-04-16
Patent application number: 20150102617
A collapsible system is provided for grasping and bagging an item on the
ground, where the system includes an elongate cane having a proximal end
that can be held by the user and a distal end, the system includes a set
of claspers secured to a distal end of the elongate cane such that the
claspers can be manipulated by the user, where the set of claspers
includes first and second grasping arms each having a support hook
configured to secure a portion of a bag between the set of claspers, and
where the system also includes a control mechanism configured to permit
the user to operate from the proximal end of the cane the set of claspers
positioned to the distal end of the cane.
1. A collapsible system for grasping and bagging an item on the floor,
the system configured to minimize a user's need to bend over to pick up
the item, the collapsible system comprising: an elongate cane having a
proximal end that can be held by the user and a distal end; a set of
claspers secured to a distal end of the elongate cane such that the
claspers can be manipulated by the user, the set of claspers comprising a
first and second grasping arm each comprising a support hook configured
to secure a portion of a bag between the set of claspers; and a control
mechanism configured to permit the user to operate from the proximal end
of the cane the set of claspers positioned to the distal end of the cane.
2. The collapsible system of claim 1, wherein the control mechanism comprises a pivotable grip secured to the proximal end of the cane, the grip configured so that the user can move the grip as needed to operate the set of claspers between a closed and open position.
3. The collapsible system of claim 2, wherein the set of claspers is hingeably secured to the cane so that the claspers can be moved from a retracted position pointing proximally from a point of securement to the cane to an extended position pointing distally from the point of securement, the point of securement comprising a hinge.
4. The collapsible system of claim 3, wherein the control mechanism is configured to permit the user to both operate the moving of the claspers between a closed and opened position while also moving the claspers between a retracted and an extended position.
5. The collapsible system of claim 1, further comprising a bag configured to be secured to the claspers in at least two positions, a first position associated with the support hook on a first arm of the claspers and a second position associated with the support hook on a second arm of the claspers.
6. The collapsible system of claim 1, wherein the set of claspers is secured to a distal tip of the distal end of the elongate cane.
7. The collapsible system of claim 1, wherein the elongate cane is segmented to permit collapsibility of the cane to reduce the overall length of the cane for ease of transport.
 The embodiments herein relate generally to a system for facilitating the collection and disposal of animal droppings. Mechanisms exist that the permit a user to use a long handled set of claspers to grasp items on the ground. And mechanisms exist for securing human waste in disposal systems (e.g., Diaper Genie®). Nonetheless, no one has yet to tailor a system to collect animal waste in a manner that eliminates the need for the animal owner to bend over with an inverted plastic bag in hand to pick up the droppings from multiple animals over a period of time using separate discrete bags that then must be carried in hand for the balance of the walk. Embodiments of the present invention address at least this long-felt need.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 The detailed description of some embodiments of the invention will be made below with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein like numerals represent corresponding parts of the figures.
 FIGS. 1A through 1C show a schematic front elevational view of one embodiment of the present invention;
 FIGS. 2A and 2B show a schematic side view of one embodiment of a bag collection system applicable to the system embodiments described and claimed herein;
 FIGS. 3A and 3B show a schematic front elevational view of the embodiment of FIGS. 1B and 1C using the bag collection system of FIGS. 2A and 2B;
 FIGS. 4A through 4D show a schematic side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1A;
 FIGS. 5A through 5C show a schematic front elevational view of another embodiment of the present invention;
 FIGS. 6A and 6B show a schematic front elevational view of the embodiment of FIGS. 5B and 5C using the bag collection system of FIGS. 3A and 3B;
 FIGS. 7A through 7C show a schematic side elevational view of the embodiment of FIGS. 5A through 5C.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS
 By way of example, and referring to FIGS. 1A through 1C, one embodiment 10 of the present invention comprises an elongate cane 12. At a distal end of the cane 12 are a set of claspers 14a and 14b joined within a housing 16 where the claspers are joined at a pivot point 18 within the housing to permit relative movement of the claspers 14a and 14b from a first closed position (as shown in FIG. 1B) to a second open position (as shown in FIG. 1C). To secure the claspers 14a, 14b within the housing in pivotal fashion, pivot pins 20a, 20b are provided through the housing the claspers 14a, 14b, respectively, so that as a linear force is applied to the pivot point 18 to move the claspers 14a, 14b between and open and closed position, each clasp 14a, 14b moves about pivot pins 20a, 20b.
 Preferably, the housing 16, and thus claspers 14a, 14b, are pivotally secured to the cane 12 by way of a hinge 22. In this manner, the claspers 14a, 14b and housing 16 may be placed into a collapsed position, as shown in FIG. 1A, when not in use, and an uncollapsed (extended) position as shown in FIGS. 1B and 1C for operation. If desired, a portion of the cane at the distal end may extend beyond the hinge 22, as shown in FIG. 1A, in case the user desires to use the cane 12 as a walking stick when not in use for collecting animal droppings.
 In certain embodiments, it is preferable that the cane 12 comprise a hollow tube of metal, wood, synthetic material or any other material that is sufficiently rigid to permit effective functionality described for the embodiments herein. By being tubular in structure, i.e., hollow, a cable 26 maybe provided that extends substantially the length of the cane 12 from close to the proximal end to close to the distal end, as explained in more detail below. The cable 26 serves to permit operation of the system 10 in at least two ways: the first is to collapse or extend the claspers 14 and housing 16 and the second is to open or close the claspers 14.
 It should be noted that at the distal end of each clasp 14a, 14b is a support hook 28a, 28b, respectively. Such hooks are preferably configured to permit securing of a bag system that can be used with the system embodiments herein. In that regard, reference is made to FIGS. 2A and 2B, where one example of such a bag system may be described. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2A, a collection of bags 40 are provided rolled in an annular ring 42 where each bag 44 is secured at a first end in a closed-off manner, such as a knot 46, or the like. By pulling on the closed end, as shown in FIG. 2B, the bag 44 is further exposed so that droppings may fall into the opening of the bag defined by the ring 42. With reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B, one embodiment of the system 10 shows the annular ring 42 secured to the hooks 28a, 28b at the distal ends of claspers 14a, 14b, respectively. By opening the claspers 14, as shown in FIG. 3B, the ring 42 is enlarged to create a sufficiently large opening of bag 44 to facilitate collection of animal droppings at they are made. It is contemplated that when it desired to collect animal droppings, that the system 10 be operated whereby the bag system 40 is secured to the claspers 14, and then the claspers 14 opened, as shown in FIG. 3B, so that the distal end of the system 10 may be placed under the rear end of the animal to permit the droppings to fall into the bag. At that point, once the animal is finished, the claspers 14 may be closed, and the bag 44 twisted and tied off into a knot. By doing so, the animal droppings are now secured discretely in their own bag. Where multiple animals are being walked, a separate bag may be used for each animal, where each set of droppings is secured in its own bag. The bags may be left knotted but secured serially to each other, or knotted and cut, if so desired by the user.
 Referring first to FIGS. 1A and 1C, functionality of the cable 26 may be appreciated in more detail. In that regard, in one embodiment 10 of the invention, a portion of the cable 26 resides within the tubular cane 12, as shown by the dotted line 26 in FIG. 1C. A portion of the cable 26, in this particular example embodiment, extends out of the cane proximal the distal end of the cane 12 through opening 30 in the cane, as shown in FIG. 1A. The cable continues into hole 32 of housing 16 where it engages pivot point 18, thus permitting the cable to control the opening and closing of the claspers 14.
 Referring to FIGS. 4A through 4D, system 10 may include, for example, a handle 50 comprising a grip 52 pivotally supported to the handle 50 or cane 12 by way of a pivot pin 54. The grip 52 is preferably linked to the proximal end of the cable 26 so that pivoting of the grip 52 relative to the handle 50 pulls the cable 26 in the direction of arrow A to cause the claspers 14 and housing 16 to be pulled from a collapsed position (as shown in FIG. 4A), to an extended position (as shown intermediately in FIG. 4B and completely in FIG. 4C). In that regard, the grip 52 is moved in the direction of arrow B, while the claspers 14 and housing 16 are caused to be moved in the direction of arrow C. Upon full extension, which may reflect one of numerous possible angles between the housing 16 and the longitudinal axis of the cane 12, depending upon the size and configuration of the components, further pivoting of the grip 52 preferably causes the claspers 14a, 14b to open. In the side view of FIG. 4D, the opening of the claspers 14 gives the appearance of the claspers 14 shortening. The open position is shown more directly in FIG. 1C.
 Referring to FIGS. 5A-5C and FIGS. 6A and 6B, an alterative embodiment 110 is provided in which the housing 116 is pivotally secured to the very distal end of the cane 112. In other words, in this embodiment, by way of example, no (or essentially very little) portion of the cane extends beyond the housing. Operation of the system 110 is generally the same as system 10, but is shown for the sake of illustrating variety in configuration and component placement. In that regard, with reference to FIGS. 7A through 7C, it made be appreciated that by placing the claspers 114 and housing 116 at the distal end of the cane 112, extension of the housing 116 may permit alignment of the housing and claspers generally with the longitudinal axis of the cane, although it need not be exact alignment. Again, variation of the configuration is contemplated.
 One of the contemplated features of embodiments of the present invention is total collapsibility of the systems 10 and 110, by example, in which not only does the housing and claspers collapse, but the cane collapses as well. For example, the cane 12 of system 10 is shown in FIGS. 4A-4B as comprising two sections, 12a and 12b. Likewise, referring to FIGS. 7A-7C, the cane 112 of system 110 also comprises a plurality of sections in which they sections may be folders relative to each other to collapse the entire system more compactly, as shown in FIG. 7C. In that regard, it may be preferable that cable 26 or cable 126 have some elastic property to it to permit the plurality of cane sections, whether it is two or more sections, be foldable relative to each other.
 Persons of ordinary skill in the art may appreciate that numerous design configurations may be possible to enjoy the functional benefits of the inventive systems. Thus, given the wide variety of configurations and arrangements of embodiments of the present invention the scope of the invention is reflected by the breadth of the claims below rather than narrowed by the embodiments described above.
Patent applications by Michael Richard Pluta, Huntington Beach, CA US
Patent applications in class Pole mounted
Patent applications in all subclasses Pole mounted