Title:
Transport container for photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A transport container for intraoral imaging plates comprising a base member and a cover member, the base member and the cover member each defining a cavity, each of the cavities being completely filled with partially resilient padding, such that when the base and the cover are brought into foldable contact, the padding comes in contact with the respective opposing padding with slight compression thereby gently holding in place any imaging plates that may have been removed from their barrier envelope and placed on the padding, the closing of the cover and base defining a lightless area for the transport of the intraoral imaging plates, the padding also cooperative with the imaging plates and the user's finger tips to insure that the transported intraoral imaging plates may be removed from the padded surface without engaging the exposed side of the imaging plate, but rather, engaging the edges.



Inventors:
Alzner, Edgar (Garden City, NY, US)
Lloyd, Tom (New Hyde Park, NY, US)
Paulter, Eddy (West Hempstead, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/342673
Publication Date:
09/04/2003
Filing Date:
01/15/2003
Assignee:
ALZNER EDGAR
LLOYD TOM
PAULTER EDDY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/594
International Classes:
A61B6/14; A61B19/02; G03C3/00; (IPC1-7): B65D85/48
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SUHOL, DMITRY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Clifford, Frayne G. (Suite 7A, Brick, NJ, 08723, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A transport container for light sensitive intra-oral imaging plates which contain an image which has not yet been scanned, said transport container comprising: a base member having first and second end walls, first and second side walls, and a bottom wall thereby defining a cavity, the depth of said cavity being the distance from said bottom wall to an upper peripheral edge defined by said first and second end walls and said first and second side walls, said cavity having positioned therein a resilient, deformable padding material coextensive with said depth of said cavity; a cover member defined by a first and second end wall, and a first and second side wall, and an upper wall, thereby defining a cavity, the depth of said cavity being the distance from said upper wall to the peripheral edge defined by said first and second end walls and first and second side walls, said cavity having positioned therein a resilient, deformable padding coextensive with the depth of said cavity, the periphery of said base member and said cover member being complimentary such that a plurality of intra-oral imaging plates containing images may be positioned discretely on said resilient, deformable padding of said base member, said cover member engagable with said base member such that said intra-oral imaging plates are cushioned and positioned between said resilient, deformable padding of said base member and said resilient, deformable padding of said cover member for transport by a technician to an intra-oral imaging plate scanner without exposing said imaging plates to a light source.

2. The transport container for intra-oral imaging plates in accordance with claim 1 wherein said base member and said cover member are secured in hingeable relationship.

3. The transport container for intra-oral imaging plates in accordance with claim 1 wherein said resilient, deformable padding of said base member and said cover member is depressible by fingers of said technician to permit removal of said intra-oral imaging plates by means of engagement along opposing edges of said intraoral imaging plate.

4. The transport container for intra-oral imaging plates in accordance with claim 1 wherein said cover member and said base member when in complementary engagement define a light proof container for the transport of said intra-oral imaging plates.

5. The transport container for intra-oral imaging plates in accordance with claim 1 wherein when said cover member and said base member are in closed relationship, said intra-oral imaging plates positioned between said base member and said cover member are maintained in position by said resilient, deformable padding of said cover member and said base member.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Applicant claims the benefit of the filing date of provisional application Serial No. 60/349,095, filed Jan. 18, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a transport container for transporting photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates and having particular application to photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates used in the dental operatory.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Modern digital dental imaging systems utilize reusable photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates as opposed to conventional x-ray film. The photo-stimulable phosphor (PSP) imaging plates are positioned in individual barrier envelopes having an opaque side to protect the x-ray exposed imaging plate from being erased, as well as for aseptic reasons. An exposed PSP imaging plate must be extracted or ejected from the barrier envelope before it can be scanned or read to generate an image from the latent stored image. This extraction or ejection must take place in a relatively short time, less than one to two seconds, to avoid light exposure. The extracted PSP imaging plate must then be positioned in a condition of no light exposure, and attempts should be made to insure that the sensitive or image side of the imaging plate, as it is being removed from the barrier envelope, faces away from any direct or strong indirect light to minimize exposure. In existing applications the ejected imaging plate is dropped into a lightless box or dark box for temporary storage. The imaging plates then must be removed and inserted into guides installed on a scanning device for continuous feed systems, or installed onto holders that are then inserted into an image scanning device for batch feed systems.

[0006] To remove the temporarily stored imaging plates from the lightless or dark box requires opening the box and handling the image plate, which typically results in contacting the sensitive side of an imaging plate with fingers resulting in undesired finger prints, and further, the use of the dark box increases the undesired probability that there will be a partial overlap of the imaging plates sensitive surfaces by other imaging plates when said box is opened resulting in a witness line between partially erased and remaining unerased areas of such an imaging plate. The present invention relates to a transport container which protects the imaging plates from the aforesaid undesirable results as the imaging plates are moved from the dental operatory where the exposure has occurred, or from some other room where the plates are removed from the barrier envelopes to the image scanning device where the images will be scanned or read.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0007] An object of the present invention is to provide for a novel transport container for photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates which minimizes the exposed imaging plate to light.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is to provide for a novel transport container for photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates which allows the exposed imaging plate to be removed from its barrier envelope and positioned within a dark or no light area in a minimal amount of time.

[0009] A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel transport container for photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates in which the imaging plates can be oriented with the imaging surface face downwardly.

[0010] A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel transport container for photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates in which the imaging plates can be removed from the transport container without having to contact the exposed surface. Especially with fingers in particular, thereby facilitating picking up the image plates by their edges.

[0011] A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel transport container for photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates in which the imaging plates can be removed from the barrier envelopes and positioned in the transport container without any overlapping of any imaging plates and whereby the sensitive side of the imaging plate faces upwardly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] A transport container for intraoral imaging plates comprising a base member and a cover member, the base member and the cover member each defining a cavity, each of the cavities being completely filled with partially resilient padding, such that when the base and the cover are brought into foldable contact, the padding comes in contact with the respective opposing padding with slight compression thereby gently holding in place any imaging plates that may have been removed from their barrier envelope and placed on the padding, the closing of the cover and base defining a lightless area for the transport of the intraoral imaging plates, the padding also cooperative with the imaging plates and the user's finger tips to insure that the transported intraoral imaging plates may be removed from the padded surface without engaging the exposed side of the imaging plate, but rather, engaging the edges.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent particularly when taken in light of the following illustrations wherein:

[0014] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the transport container in a closed position;

[0015] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the transport container in a partially opened position illustrating imaging plates positioned on the padding in the base;

[0016] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one manner in which the imaging plate can be removed from the padding surface of the base member;

[0017] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second manner in which the imaging plate can be removed from the padding of the base member; and

[0018] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a third manner in which the imaging plate can be removed from the padding of the base member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the transport container in a closed position and FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the transport container in a partially opened position. The transport container 10 is generally rectangular in configuration consisting of a base member 12 and a cover member 14. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the base member and the cover member are secured along one edge by a hinge 16, however, the transport container is equally functional without the base member and cover member being secured to each other as long as they are complimentary and can be positioned adjacent each other as illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0020] Base member 12 and cover member 14 are defined by their side walls 16 and 18 respectively and respective bottom walls 20 and 22 which in turn define cavities 24 and 26 respectively. These cavities are filled completely with padding members 28 and 30 respectively. The padding members can be sponge rubber, foam rubber, foam plastic or foam plastic pads. Upper surfaces 32 and 34 of the padding members 28 and 30 should be a flexibly resilient smooth matte surface, preferably colored in dark gray or black to minimize light reflection. The upper surface may be porous or nonporous, but non-porous is preferable for cleaning and asepsis purposes. The padding members 28 and 30 are positioned within the respective cavities 24 and 26 such that when base member 12 and cover member 14 are oriented as illustrated in FIG. 1, the two padding members 28 and 30 come in contact with each other. In doing so, the padding members 28 and 30 will gently hold in position any imaging plates 40 which may be positioned on the padding member 28 of the base member 12. FIG. 2 illustrates several different sized imaging plates 40 positioned on the padding member 28 of base member 12.

[0021] The imaging plates 40 are removed from the intraoral cavity of the patient immediately before being positioned in the transport container. The imaging plates are enclosed in the barrier envelope (not shown) having an opaque side adjacent the exposed surface of the imaging plate thereby preventing the imaging plate 40 from being erased and it eliminates cross contamination from patient to patient by following standard recommended sanitizing practices in handling enveloped, exposed imaging plates since the photo-stimulable phosphor imaging plates 40 are reusable. After sanitation, the barrier envelope typically has to be removed from the imaging plate 40 before the imaging plate 40 is positioned in a dark box or Applicant's transport container 10. Applicant's transport container 10 solves many of the problems associated with the dark box as previously discussed. With Applicant's transfer container 10, the barrier envelope can be removed from the imaging plate 40 with the exposed side of the imaging plate facing away from the user. The exposed surface of the imaging plate 40 can then immediately be positioned on the padding member 28 of base member 12. This can be accomplished in the relatively short period of time required, less than one to two seconds. The cover member 14 can then be brought into cooperation with the base member 12 as illustrated in FIG. 1 to provide a light proof environment for the imaging plate 40. Still further, it is insured that the exposed surface of the imaging plate 40 is face down on the matte dark padding material and thereby further decreasing its exposure to ambient light. Still further, the transport box allows the user to position the imaging plates 40 on the padding member 28 of the base member 12 in such a manner that there can be no overlapping of the imaging plates 40 and in particular, the exposed surfaces of the imaging plates 40 by assuring that all imaging plates are face down before adding another imaging plate to the base surface.

[0022] The transport container 10 of the present invention also provides for more facile removal of the imaging plate 40 from the padded member 28 of the base member 12 for transfer to the scanner for reading. The possibility of finger prints being transferred to the exposed surface is greatly minimized if not totally prevented. The padding surfaces 32 and 34 are smooth and flexibly resilient. This permits the user as illustrated in FIG. 3 to depress the padding member 28 along two opposing edges 42 and 44 of the imaging plate 40 in order to grasp the imaging plate 40 by the thumb 50 and forefinger 52 at the opposite edges 42 and 44 and lift it from the padding surface for insertion into the scanner.

[0023] FIG. 4 illustrates a second means of removal wherein user utilizes the forefinger 52 to gently depress one edge 46 of the imaging plate 40 into the padding member 28 so that the other opposing end 48 tilts upwardly allowing two fingers to engage opposing edges 42 and 44 of the imaging plate 40 for insertion into the scanner. This method of removal could also be accomplished with one hand utilizing the middle finger to depress and the thumb and forefinger to grasp (See FIG. 5). Preferably the removal of the imaging plates 40 from the padded member 28 of base member 12 and introduction of the imaging plate into the scanner is carried out as rapidly as possible with the sensitive side of the imaging plate being exposed to no direct and minimal reflected illumination being present.

[0024] The transport container 10 of the present invention has been described in the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4 with the imaging plates 40 being positioned on the padding member 28 of the base member 12. It will be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art that the transport container 10 could be utilized with the imaging plates 40 being positioned on padding member 30 of cover member 14 in the manner described with the base member 12 being positioned on top of cover member 14 without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0025] While the present invention has been described with respect to the exemplary embodiments thereof, it will be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications or changes can be achieved without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore it is manifestly intended that the invention be limited only by the scope of the claims and the equivalence thereof.





 
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