Title:
Self-rinsing lavatory develle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for a person with degenerative medical conditions and requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean.



Inventors:
Osburn, Keith Ray (Mountainburg, AR, US)
Application Number:
11/604495
Publication Date:
05/31/2007
Filing Date:
11/27/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KINDRED, KRISTIE MAHONE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LYNN E. MURRY (424 WEST PATRICIA LNAE, FAYETTEVILLE, AR, 72703, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A self-rinsing lavatory develle requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean comprising: a) a sink having a ledge with at least two openings, a peripheral wall with at least one additional aperture located an opening on the ledge, and a bottom with a drain; b) a hollow tubular member having a proximal end with an inlet that connects to a water line through the aperture on the peripheral wall of the sink, a distal end, and a middle section between the proximal and distal ends; c) a faucet assembly mounted in one opening on the ledge of the sink that is operably connected to at least one water line; and d) a control means mounted in a second opening on the ledge of the sink that is operably connected to a water line to control the flow of water into the inlet of the hollow tubular member.

2. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the sink is made of a material selected from aluminum, bronze, carbon fiber, ceramic, a composite, fiberglass, granite, natural or manufactured marble, metal, onyx, plastic, plaster, porcelain, resin, rubber, soapstone, and vitreous china.

3. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the hollow tubular member is an integral part of the sink.

4. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the hollow tubular member is a length of hose or tubing bonded to and forming a rim around the top of the peripheral wall of a sink.

5. The lavatory of claim 4 wherein the hollow tubular member is made of a material selected from ceramic, copper, fiberglass, metal, plastic, or rubber.

6. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the distal end of the hollow tubular member is capped.

7. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the middle section of the hollow tubular member has one or more outlets spaced along the bottom of the tubular member.

8. The lavatory of claim 7 wherein the middle section of the hollow tubular member has a narrow continuous outlet that opens onto the peripheral wall of the sink.

9. The lavatory of claim 7 wherein the middle section of the hollow tubular member has a plurality of outlets that open onto the peripheral wall of the sink.

10. The lavatory of claim 9 wherein each of the plurality of outlets has a shape selected from elongate, oval, rectangular, round, or square.

11. The lavatory of claim 9 wherein each of the plurality of outlets is a slot measuring about ½ inch long and about 1/16 inch wide and spaced about ⅛ apart.

12. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the faucet assembly is operated by a single lever or handle.

13. The lavatory of claim 1 wherein the control means further comprises a water valve operated by a lever or button.

14. A self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for a person with degenerative condition and requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean comprising: a) a sink having a ledge with at least two openings, a peripheral wall with at least one additional aperture located below one of the openings on the ledge, and a bottom with a drain; b) a hollow tubular member having a proximal inlet operably connected to a water line, a capped distal end, and a middle section between the proximal inlet and distal end with a narrow continuous outlet about 1/16 inch wide along its bottom side for releasing water onto the peripheral wall of the sink; c) a faucet assembly consisting of a single lever mounted in one of the openings on the ledge of the sink and operably connected to at least one water line; and d) a control means consisting of a single lever mounted in the other opening on the ledge of the sink and operably connected to and controlling the flow of water from a water line to the inlet of the hollow tubular member.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This non-provisional patent application claims the benefit of Provisional Patent Application No. 60/740,141 filed 28 Nov. 2005, incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for persons with bone, joint, muscular, or neurological conditions and to require minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a self-rinsing lavatory designed particularly for persons with limited manual dexterity due to degenerative medical conditions caused by bone, joint, muscular or neurological diseases or disorders and for use in residential and commercial venues where lavatories need to be cleaned one or more times a day.

Lavatories require frequent cleaning for reasons of maintaining the public health. However, if a lavatory is rinsed immediately after use, rinsing alone can remove most, if not all, debris or residue. It is much easier to clean the lavatory before clippings, hairs, makeup, powder, soap, toothpaste, or other particles or solutions dry on its surface. Immediate and thorough rinsing can for the most part, maintain the cleanliness of lavatories located in homes, park models, or recreational vehicles as well as those in assisted-care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, public transport and educational or commercial venues such as hotels, motels, schools, theaters and the like.

The present invention serves a need in the art by providing a self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for persons with degenerative medical conditions and requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean.

SUMMARY

The invention presents a self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for persons with degenerative medical conditions and requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and keep clean.

The invention provides a self-rinsing lavatory develle requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean comprising a sink having a ledge with at least two openings, a peripheral wall with at least one additional aperture below one of the openings on the ledge, and a bottom with a drain; a hollow tubular member that comprises a rim around the peripheral wall of the sink having a proximal end with an inlet that can be connected to a water line traversing the aperture on the peripheral wall of the sink, a middle with one or more outlets spaced along bottom of the tubular member for spraying water down the peripheral wall of the sink and a distal end; a faucet assembly mounted in at least one opening on the ledge of the sink and operably connected to the water line; and a control means that is mounted in a second opening on the ledge of the sink and that controls the flow of water through the water line that traverses the aperture to connect with the inlet of the hollow tubular member. In one aspect, the sink is made of a material selected from aluminum, bronze, carbon fiber, ceramic, a composite, fiberglass, granite, natural or manufactured marble, metal, onyx, plastic, plaster, porcelain, resin, rubber, soapstone, and vitreous china.

In a second aspect, the hollow tubular member is made of a material selected from ceramic, copper, fiberglass, metal, plastic, or rubber. In a third aspect, the hollow tubular member is an integral part of the sink. In a fourth aspect, the hollow tubular member is a hose, pipe, or tube bonded to form a rim around an existing sink. In a fifth aspect, the middle of the hollow tubular member has a narrow continuous outlet or a plurality of outlets opening onto the peripheral wall of the sink. In a sixth aspect, the distal end of the hollow tubular member is capped. In a seventh aspect, the plurality of outlets have a shape selected from elongate, oval, rectangular, round, or square and are about 12 inch long, 1/16 inch wide and about ⅛ inch apart. In an eighth aspect, the faucet assembly is operated by at least one lever or handle. In a ninth aspect, the control means further comprises a water valve operated by a lever, a button, or an electric eye. In a tenth aspect, the middle of the hollow tubular member has an outlet that is a continuous slot about 1/16 inch in width that sprays water against the peripheral wall of the sink.

The invention also provides a self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for a person with degenerative condition and requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and clean comprising a sink having a ledge with at least two openings, a peripheral wall with at least one additional aperture located below one of the openings on the ledge, and a bottom with a drain; a hollow tubular member having a proximal inlet operably connected to a water line, a capped distal end, and a middle section between the proximal inlet and distal end with a narrow continuous outlet about 1/16 inch wide along its bottom side for releasing water onto the peripheral wall of the sink; a faucet assembly consisting of a single lever mounted in one of the openings on the ledge of the sink and operably connected to at least one water line; and a control means consisting of a single electric eye, button or lever mounted in the other opening on the ledge of the sink and operably connected to and controlling the flow of water from the water line to the inlet of the hollow tubular member.

FIGURES

FIG. 1. A photograph of a working prototype, a self-rinsing lavatory develle with one additional faucet handle that controls the release of water into a hollow tubular member encircling the top of the peripheral wall of the sink.

FIG. 2. A partial, cross-sectional view at rim level of a preferred embodiment of the self-rinsing lavatory develle.

FIG. 3. Partial, cross-sectional views of segments of a hollow tubular member and peripheral wall of a sink. FIG. 3A shows a hollow tubular member, its inlet, and a plurality of small outlets. FIG. 3B shows a hollow tubular member, its inlet, and a continuous, narrow slot outlet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Definitions

Unless defined otherwise, all terms are understood to have the same meaning as commonly used in the art to which they pertain. In this application, the singular form includes plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. For the purpose of this disclosure, the following terms are defined below.

An “adhesive” refers to a non-water soluble bonding agent and includes, but is not limited to, caulk, cement, glue, gum, epoxy, fiberglass, fiberglass spray, paste, putty, sealant, and solvents that can used to bond, join or seal plastics.

A “control means” refers to any valve-like or similar regulating mechanism that opens or closes, starts or stops, the flow of water from a water line into the lavatory. The control means includes, but is not limited, to a button, cock, diverter, electric eye, handle, foot pedal, knee pedal, handle, lever, spigot, switch, tap, valve, and the like that is located on the ledge or faucet assembly of the lavatory and operated by elbow, hand or motion.

A “hollow tubular member” refers to a channel, hose, pipe or tube carved, cut, injection molded or stamped and formed from any non-water soluble material including those used for constructing sinks. The hollow tubular member can have a circular; semicircular, square, triangular, or any other cross-sectional shape, forms an integral or bonded rim along the top of the peripheral wall of the lavatory, carries a flow of water from at least one inlet to one or more outlets.

“Inlet” refers to at least one opening through which water enters a hollow tubular member.

“Lavatory” refers to a concave basin, bowl, or sink of any color, shape including but not limited to circular, oval, rectangular, square, trapezoidal and the like, or size and constructed of any material, or combination of materials including, but not limited to, aluminum, bronze, carbon fiber, ceramic, a composite, fiberglass, granite, natural or manufactured marble, metal, onyx, plastic, plaster, porcelain, resin, rubber, soapstone, vitreous china and the like. Exemplary basins, bowls, or sinks include, but are not limited to, a wash basin, a bathroom sink, a kitchen sink, a bar, food service, or restaurant sink; a barber or beauty shop sink; a medical office, hospital, laboratory or surgeon's sink, a shower cabinet's floor pan, and the like.

A “metal” refers to any elemental alloyed or manufactured material used to produce a lavatory including, but not limited to, aluminum, bronze, copper, iron, nickel, carbon steel, stainless steel, steel, and the like.

An “outlet” refers to a narrow, continuous slot or any series of openings including, but not limited to, apertures, channels, holes, passageways, perforations, pores, slots, vents, and the like that release or spray water from the hollow tubular member onto the peripheral wall of the sink and whose number, size, shape, and spacing vary according to the material and construction of the hollow tubular member and with the residential or commercial use of the lavatory.

A “plastic” or “thermoplastic” refers to an acrylic, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers (ABS), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, halar, kynar, lexan, nylon, plexiglass, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinylidene floride, teflon, vinyl or reinforced vinyl, and the like that can be used to construct a sink or hollow tubular member.

A “solvent” refers to a liquid or liquifier that can be used to attach a hollow tubular member to the top of the peripheral wall of a sink including, but not limited to, acetone, butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, N-butanol, iso-butanol, iso-propanol, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, toluene, xylene and the like.

A “water line” refers to any tubing or hose that carries water from a water pipe or hot water heater to the lavatory develle.

DESCRIPTION

The invention is an attractive, modern, self-rinsing lavatory develle designed for a person with a degenerative medical condition and requiring minimal manual dexterity to operate and keep clean. The lavatory develle is simple, reliable, efficient, and economical to manufacture, install and use.

The lavatory develle was designed to be used anywhere that an easily-operated, clean lavatory is desirable, but especially in the private homes, park models, and recreational vehicles of a person suffering from a degenerative medical condition that limits manual dexterity. Pertinent medical conditions are bone, joint, muscular, or neurological diseases or disorders including, but not limited to, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and the like.

The lavatory develle is also well suited for use in assisted care facilities, medical offices, hospitals, nursing homes, public transport including buses, planes, ships and trains, and educational or commercial venues such as hotels, motels, schools, theaters, and the like where accommodation of those with limited manual dexterity is desirable or where maintaining the public health requires that the lavatory be cleaned frequently.

FIG. 1 is a photograph of a working, prototype lavatory develle. When the control means—in this case, an additional faucet on the left side of the ledge—is activated, colored water is released from the bottom of a hollow tubular member encircling the rim of the sink to rinse down the peripheral wall.

FIG. 2 shows a partial, cross-sectional view, at rim level, of one preferred embodiment of the self-rinsing lavatory develle. The lavatory develle comprises a sink with a ledge (1). The center of the ledge has one or more openings to accommodate a faucet assembly (2) with at least one lever handle (3), and the side of the ledge has at least one extra opening to accommodate a control means (4)—in this case, a spring-loaded button valve on the left-hand side of the ledge. A mirror image configuration with the control means on the right-hand side of the ledge is also contemplated. Placement of a T-shaped connector (not shown) in the water line and extension of the water line through the control means to the inlet of the hollow tubular member allows both the faucet assembly and the control means to be operably connected to the water supply (5). In a preferred embodiment, the control means is connected to a hot water supply. The lavatory has a more or less concave interior comprising a peripheral wall (6) sloping down to the drain (7) in the bottom (8) of the lavatory. The rim (9) of the lavatory develle shown in cross-section, contains a hollow tubular member (10) with an inlet operably connected to the water line through the control means and having one or more outlets (12). In this drawing, a plurality of outlets more or less evenly spaced along the bottom of the hollow tubular member are shown. Depending on water pressure, the outlets spray or release water against the top of the peripheral wall of the lavatory develle to rinse it clean.

FIG. 3 shows a partial, cross-sectional view of segments of a hollow tubular member and the peripheral wall of the sink. The hollow tubular member is formed either as a integral part of the sink or separately and then joined to the top of the peripheral wall of the sink using an adhesive or solvent suitable for joining the materials of which the hollow tubular member and the sink are made. In FIG. 3A, the hollow tubular member (13) is located at the top of the peripheral wall (14), has an inlet (15) that can be operably connected to the control means, and a plurality of outlets (16), evenly-spaced, small slots located along the bottom of the tubular member. FIG. 3B shows an alternative hollow tubular member (17) with an inlet (18) and a single outlet (19), a narrow, continuous slot along the bottom of the tubular member. If the hollow tubular member is manufactured separately, it can be used to retrofit an existing sink.

In a preferred embodiment, a self-rinsing lavatory develle would have a faucet assembly with one lever, as shown in FIG. 2, to regulate the flow of hot and cold water through the faucet and a control means consisting of another, smaller lever to release hot water into the hollow tubular means. In one alternative the control means is an electric eye activated by movement.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the particular materials and configurations described, as these can vary. It is also understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention. The examples below are provided to enable and illustrate the subject invention and are not included for the purpose of limiting the invention.

EXAMPLES

For purposes of example, the construction of the prototype lavatory develle as shown in FIG. 1 is described. The main components of the invention are readily available in any hardware store or plumbing supply including Ace Hardware (Oak Brook Ill.), Home Depot (Atlanta Ga.), Lowe's (Mooresville N.C.), and the like. It is also contemplated that the lavatory develle or its parts can be produced commercially using state-of-the-art injection molding and tooling processes.

Example 1

Construction of the Prototype Lavatory Develle

The lavatory is based on a standard 17″×22″ molded fiberglass sink (Lasco Bathware, Anaheim Calif.). The hollow tubular member used for the prototype lavatory was a ⅜ inch diameter copper tubing shaped to be attached to form a rim on the peripheral wall of the sink using Bondo (Bondo Corp, Atlanta Ga.). The choice of adhesives and solvents used to retrofit an existing sink can be selected from materials compatible with the composition of the sink and the hollow tubular member.

An additional opening was cut into the left-hand side of the lavatory ledge to accommodate a control means consisting of an additional faucet handle. A T-shaped connector was introduced into the hot water line, and at least one additional piece of water line was used to run water from the T-shaped connector to the control means and beyond it to the inlet of the hollow tubular member. In the prototype, the water flowed bidirectionally through the hollow tubular member. In another embodiment, the distal end of the hollow tubular member can be capped so that the water flows unidirectionally through the hollow tubular member and exits through the outlets. The outlets of the prototype were slots drilled into the bottom of the hollow tubular member using a variable speed drilling tool (Dremel, New Hudson Mich.). The slots were about ½ inch long, about 1/16 inch wide and about ⅛ inch apart. The spacing of slots is dependent on the material used for the hollow tubular member, and in this case, the ends of the slots were as close together as the process of drilling the copper tubing would allow. When the control means was activated, the hot water sprayed downward from the outlets onto the peripheral wall of the lavatory rinsing it clean.

In a preferred embodiment, a self-rinsing lavatory develle would have a faucet assembly with one lever, as shown in FIG. 2, to regulate the flow of hot and cold water through the faucet and a control means consisting of another, smaller lever (not shown) to release hot water into a hollow tubular member and out of a narrow, continuous slot about 1/16 inch wide in the bottom of the hollow tubular member to rinse the lavatory. In another embodiment, the control means is an electric eye mounted either in the base of the faucet assembly or in a small post located on the ledge to the right or left side of the faucet assembly and activated by the motion of the person using the lavatory.

Example 2

Operation of the Lavatory Develle

The operation of the self-rinsing lavatory is as follows: after the lavatory has been used, the control means is activated. For example, if the control means is a lever, the lever is turned to start the flow of water. Activation enables water to flow into the hollow tubular member, around the rim of the lavatory and spray out of either a narrow continuous outlet or a plurality of outlets, thereby rinsing the lavatory. The amount of water and length of time used to rinse the lavatory is subjective, governed by water pressure in the system and the user's discretion. In the preferred embodiment, the water rinsing the basin is hot water.

Although the invention has been described with preferred embodiments, it should be understood that the invention as claimed should not be unduly limited to such specific embodiments. Indeed, various modifications of the described materials that are obvious to those skilled in the art are intended to be within the scope of the following claims.





 
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