Title:
Hand and finger-therapy device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Described is an exercise tool. More particularly, it is a therapy and exercise tool specifically devised as a hand and finger-therapy device to align, separate, and stretch the user's fingers and hands. The device includes a finger separator that is sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's adjacent fingers to manipulate and/or separate the fingers, thereby providing hand and finger-therapy.



Inventors:
Ferri, Frederic (Dexter, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/378293
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
02/13/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/47
International Classes:
A63B71/00; A63B23/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOPE-MCKAY & ASSOCIATES (30745 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY #420, MALIBU, CA, 90265, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hand and finger-therapy device, comprising: a first finger separator, sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to separate the fingers.

2. The device as set forth in claim 1, further comprising: a second finger separator, wherein each of the first finger separator and the second finger separator include a top portion; and a frame connecting a portion of the first finger separator with a portion of the second finger separator.

3. The device as set forth in claim 2, further comprising: a second finger separator, wherein each of the first finger separator and the second finger separator include a top portion; and a top frame connecting a top portion of the first finger separator with a top portion of the second finger separator.

4. The device as set forth in claim 3, wherein each of the first and second finger separators include a bottom portion; and further comprising a frame connecting a bottom portion of the first finger separator with a bottom portion of the second finger separator.

5. The device as set forth in claim 3, further comprising an electronic device connected with at least one of the frames.

6. The device as set forth in claim 3, further comprising an electronic device connected with at least one of the finger separators and the frame.

7. The device as set forth in claim 2, wherein each of the first finger separator and the second separator is formed in a shape selected from a group consisting of a triangle, sphere, cube, pyramid, cone, and wedge-shape.

8. The device as set forth in claim 2, further comprising an electronic device connected with at least one of the finger separators.

9. A hand and finger-therapy device, comprising: a frame sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to manipulate the fingers.

10. A device as set forth in claim 9, wherein the frame is formed to interlace with the user's fingers and thereby manipulate the fingers.

11. A device as set forth in claim 9, wherein the frame is an adjustable frame that interlaces with the fingers, the frame being operable such that it adjusts selectively between a plurality of positions.

12. A device as set forth in claim 9, wherein the frame is an adjustable frame that is formed and interlaces with the fingers, the frame being operable for selectively adjusting between a plurality of positions and maintained in a selected position.

13. A device as set forth in claim 9, wherein the frame is a rigid frame that is formed to interlace with the fingers.

14. A device as set forth in claim 9, wherein the frame is a flexible frame that is formed to interlace with the fingers.

15. A device as set forth in claim 9, further comprising a group of attachments attached with the frame and formed to separate a user's fingers.

16. A device as set forth in claim 9, further comprising an electronic device attached with an item selected from a group consisting of the frame and the finger separator.

17. A hand and finger-therapy device, comprising: a frame that has a tapered shape, with a helical ridge thereon.

18. A device as set forth in claim 17, wherein a number of helical ridges encircling the tapered shape is varied to create a variation in the number of helical ridges per unit of length.

19. The device as set forth in claim 17, further comprising an electronic device connected with the frame.

20. A hand and finger-therapy device, comprising: a frame upon which a first finger separator is mounted.

21. The device as set forth in claim 20 further comprising an adjustable thumb attachment mechanism connected with the frame.

22. The device as set forth in claim 21, further comprising an adjustable finger manipulation attachment mechanism connected with the frame.

23. A hand and finger-therapy device, comprising: a frame that includes a raised portion and an indented portion.

24. The device as set forth in claim 23, further comprising a finger manipulator.

25. A method for manipulating a user's adjacent digits, comprising an act of: positioning a finger manipulator between adjacent digits to manipulate the adjacent digits.

26. A method for forming a hand and finger-therapy device, comprising acts of: forming a plurality of finger manipulators that are sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to separate the fingers.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This is a Continuation-in-Part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/982,390, filed on Oct. 31, 2007, entitled, “foot therapy and toe-aligning device.” The present application also claims the benefit of priority of the following provisional applications: U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/065,792, filed on Feb. 13, 2008; U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/134,519, filed on Jul. 9, 2008; and U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/192,791, filed on Sep. 22, 2008.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an exercise tool and, more particularly, to a hand, finger, and wrist-therapy device that is devised to align, separate, treat, and stretch a user's finger, fingers, hand, or wrist.

(2) Description of Related Art

Therapy and exercise tools have long been known in prior art. Recently, such tools have been applied to not only stretch larger muscles, but also to those in the feet and toes. Several toe-stretching, exercising and aligning devices have been invented where a user places a toe stretcher (aligner) between the user's toes to stretch and treat the toes. While toe-stretching and aligning devices have been conceived, such devices have not been applied to treat the user's hands.

Therefore, it can be appreciated that a continuing need exists for a new and improved hand and finger-therapy, exercise and aligning device that allows for effective treatment of a user's fingers and hands.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to an exercise tool and, more particularly, to an exercise tool devised as a hand and finger-therapy device to align, separate, and stretch a user's fingers and hands.

In one aspect, the device includes a first finger separator that is sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to separate the fingers.

In yet another aspect, the present invention includes a second finger separator, with each of the finger separators including a top portion and a bottom portion. A top frame connects the top portion of the first finger separator with a top portion of the second finger separator.

In another aspect, a bottom frame connects a bottom portion of the first finger separator with a bottom portion of the second finger separator. Each of the first finger separator and the second separator is formed in a shape selected from a group consisting of a conical-shape and a wedge-shape.

In yet another aspect, an electronic device is connected with at least one of the finger separators and the bottom or top frame.

In another aspect, the present invention includes a frame sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to manipulate the fingers.

In yet another aspect, the frame is a band-shaped frame that is formed to interlace with the user's fingers and thereby form the finger separators.

In another aspect, the frame is an adjustable frame that is formed to interlace with the hand and fingers. The frame is adjustable such that it is operable for selectively adjusting between a first position and a second position and locking in the selected position.

In another aspect, the frame is a rigid frame that is formed to interlace with the hand and fingers.

In yet another aspect, wedge-shaped attachments are attached with the frame and formed to separate a user's fingers.

In another aspect, the first finger separator is a frame that is shaped like a tapered screw, with rails therein. The tapered screw has a unit of length and a plurality rails wrap around the tapered screw along the unit of length to constitute threads per unit of length. A number of rails wrapping around the tapered screw are varied to create a variation in the number of threads per unit of length.

Additionally, the present invention includes a frame upon which the first finger separator is mounted. An adjustable thumb attachment mechanism is also connected with the frame.

In yet another aspect, the frame includes the finger separator and also includes a raised portion and an indented portion. Thus, a user can press the user's palm within the indented portion while resting their fingers on the raised portion, with the finger separator positioned between at least two fingers, thereby manipulating the user's fingers.

Additionally, the present invention also includes a method for forming and using the device described herein. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the method for forming the device comprises a plurality of acts of forming and attaching the device and related components. For example, the method includes an act of forming a plurality of finger separators that are sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to separate the fingers. Further, the method for using the device comprises a plurality of acts applying and using the device as described below. For example, the method for manipulating the user's digits comprises an act of positioning a finger separator between adjacent digits to cause the adjacent digits to spread apart as the finger separator is pressed between the adjacent digits.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature of the finger, hand, and wrist device described herein will be readily apparent in the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting the device being utilized by a user; and

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting the device being utilized by a user;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting the device being utilized by a user;

FIG. 4 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting the device being utilized by a user;

FIG. 6 is an illustration of the hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 10 is an illustration of the hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 12A is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 12B is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting a user's hand being interlaced with the device;

FIG. 12C is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting a user twisting the device to thread a user's fingers along threads in the device;

FIG. 12D is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting a user's hand being wrapped around the device;

FIG. 12E is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting a user's hand being wrapped around the device;

FIG. 13 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 14 is an illustration of the hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting a user's hand positioned within the device of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention;

FIG. 16 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting finger spacers attached with the device of FIG. 15; and

FIG. 17 is an illustration of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention, depicting a variety of electronic devices, implantation elements, etc., attached with the hand and finger-therapy device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an exercise tool and, more particularly, to a hand and finger-therapy device that is devised to align, separate, treat, and stretch a user's finger, fingers, hand, and wrist. The following description is presented to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention and to incorporate it in the context of particular applications. Various modifications, as well as a variety of uses in different applications will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the general principles defined herein may be applied to a wide range of embodiments. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments presented, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein.

In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without necessarily being limited to these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices may be shown in block diagram form, rather than in detail, in order to avoid obscuring the present invention.

The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with this specification and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference. All the features disclosed in this specification, (including any accompanying claims, abstract, and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

Furthermore, any element in a claim that does not explicitly state “means for” performing a specified function, or “step for” performing a specific function, is not to be interpreted as a “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 U.S.C. Section 112, Paragraph 6. In particular, the use of “step of” or “act of” in the claims herein is not intended to invoke the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 112, Paragraph 6.

(1) Description of Various Aspects

A hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 through 17. The device is sized and shaped such that at least a portion of the device can be positioned to manipulate (e.g., separate) the user's fingers. For example and as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, a device according to the present invention can be formed as a plurality of distinct finger separators (i.e., finger manipulating shapes 100A through 200D) that each are formed to fit between adjacent fingers. Each of the distinct finger manipulating shapes 100A through 200D is formed in any suitable shape to fit between and stretch a user's fingers, non-limiting examples of which include conical shapes, wedge shapes, cube shapes, pyramid shapes, wedge-shapes, triangular shapes, spherical shapes, and any other three-dimensional shape.

As shown in FIG. 1, the finger spreading shapes 100A through 100D can be wedge-shaped and formed to laterally separate the fingers. These wedged-shaped finger spreading shapes 100A through 100D are used to separate and stretch the fingers by being positioned between the fingers from the “front” 102.

FIG. 2 illustrates another non-limiting example of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 2, this aspect allows for the use of a conical-shape finger separator 200A through 200D to be wedged between the fingers and held in place by the friction which is generated by the wedging motion. The wedging of this finger separator 200A through 200D occurs as the user positions the finger separator 200A through 200D from the “palm” side of the hand upward 202 through the fingers.

FIG. 3 illustrates yet another non-limiting example of the present invention. As shown, the device 300 can be formed to include a frame 302 or otherwise a connector that allows for multiple finger separators (i.e., finger spreading shapes 304) to be held together and all controlled by the common handle (i.e., frame 302). For example, at least a first finger separator is connected with a second finger separator via the frame 302 connected with a top portion 303 of each of the finger separators. Also as depicted in FIG. 3, the device's 300 finger spreading shapes (e.g., conical shapes) 304 are wedged from the “palm” side of the hand 306 and through the fingers 308. In this aspect, a user would grasp the frame 302 and pull up 310 to wedge the finger spreading shapes 304 further into the user's fingers. Although not limited thereto, one can image that the device 300 can be flipped so that the frame 302 resides in the user's palm, with the frame 302 being pulled down 312 to accomplish spreading of the fingers.

FIG. 4 illustrates yet another non-limiting example of the present invention. FIG. 4 illustrates a front-view of the present invention. As shown, this aspect allows for the separate devices 400 (i.e., finger separators) to be held together and supported in a top frame 402 and a bottom frame 404. For example, the conical posts of FIG. 2 could serve as the separate devices 400 and are connected with one another via the top frame 402 and bottom frame 404. Also shown are the voids 406 where the user's fingers would be positioned when the device is in use.

Another aspect of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention is shown in FIGS. 5 through 11. The devices depicted in FIGS. 5 through 11 use a frame with an attachment that is any suitable shape to fit between and stretch a user's fingers, a non-limiting example of which includes a wedge shape.

For example and as shown in FIG. 5, the device includes a band-shaped frame 500 that is formed to wrap around the form of a human hand and fingers 504. In other words, the device is formed to be interlaced with the user's fingers. Interlaced refers to any suitable connection technique for connecting the device with the user's fingers and/or hand, non-limiting examples of which include weaving between the user's fingers, binding the user's fingers, tracing (wrapping) the outline of the user's fingers, or simply being positioned against the user's fingers.

Attached with the band-shaped frame 500 are wedge-shaped attachments 502 that are formed to laterally separate the fingers 504. These wedged-shaped attachments 502 are used to separate and stretch the fingers 504 by being positioned between the fingers 504. The band-shaped frame 500 is formed in a band-shape to allow lateral motion 506, but resist vertical motion 508. In other words, by being band-shaped, the band-shaped frame 500 allows the finger forms 510 to bend and stretch the user's finger 504 laterally 506, but resists vertical motion 508. The wedge-shaped attachments 502 are formed of any suitable material to allow a user to affix the device with the user's hand and assist the user in stretching the fingers, non-limiting examples of which include foam and an elastomeric material. The wedge-shaped attachments 502 are also formed of a flexible material to allow the device to be affixed with a large variety of finger forms 510.

The band-shaped frame 500 is formed of any suitable rigid material, non-limiting examples of which include metal and plastic. It should be noted that although the material is rigid, the band-shaped frame 500 is formed into a band-shape that includes the finger forms 510 to allow the frame to bend and accommodate the user's fingers; thus forming a plurality of finger separators 511. The finger forms 510 are bends in the frame 500 that approximately run parallel with and wrap around the end of the user's finger 504. In another aspect, the band-shaped frame 500 can be formed of a flexible material to allow for an increased amount of vertical movement.

FIGS. 6 through 10 illustrate additional non-limiting examples of the present invention. As shown, a variety of shapes and forms can be utilized to manipulate a user's fingers. It should be noted that each of the devices illustrated in FIGS. 6 through 10 includes a band-shaped frame 500 that forms the finger separators 511 and that includes finger forms 510 and several attachments 600. It should also be noted that the attachments 600 depicted in FIG. 6 differ from those of FIGS. 7 through 10. The attachments in FIG. 6 are not wedge-shaped and are formed to be attached with the lateral sides of the band-shaped frame 500. In this aspect, the attachments rest against the side of the user's fingers while utilizing device. Alternatively, the attachments 600 depicted in FIGS. 7 through 10 are wedge-shaped, and formed to attach with the frame 500 such that they are positioned in the curve between the user's fingers. It should also be noted that the present invention is not limited thereto as one skilled in the art can image there are a variety of ways to form the attachments 600 to add comfort and stretch the user's fingers (including a combination of the two variations listed above (as show in FIG. 7) and/or a continuous attachment that wraps around the entire frame 500).

In some cases, it may be desirable to provide an adjustment mechanism that allows the user to adjust the device to suit their specific needs. For example and as depicted in FIGS. 9 and 10, a thumb adjustment mechanism 900 can be used that alters the form of the device to accommodate hands of different sizes and manipulating capacity. In this aspect, the thumb adjustment mechanism 900 can be formed to slide toward and away from the frame 500 to accommodate hands of different sizes. Further, the device may optionally includes a setting mechanism 902 to affix the thumb adjustment mechanism 900 in the various settings. The setting mechanism 902 is any suitable mechanism or device that allows a user to selectively adjust the thumb adjustment mechanism 900 and affix the thumb adjustment mechanism 900 in a particular setting, a non-limiting example of which includes a push tab. For further illustration, FIG. 10 depicts the thumb attachment mechanism 900 being adjusted between a first position 1000 and a second position 1002. It should be understood that the thumb attachment mechanism 900 can be applied to any of the digits so that it is not limited to use for a thumb. Further, the mechanism 900 can be moved/adjusted and then locked into position or, in another aspect, locked into position automatically as it is selectively moved.

FIG. 11 depicts another example of an adjustable device according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 11, the device 1100 includes a frame 1102 upon which the thumb adjustment mechanism 900 is attached. In this non-limiting example, the frame 1102 is substantially planar and includes a plurality of finger forms 1104 attached with the frame 1102. The finger forms 1104 can be formed of a single material, or formed of multiple materials. The finger forms 1104 operate as finger separators to fit between and separate adjacent fingers. As a non-limiting example, the finger form 1104 can be formed of a hard inner plastic material with an elastomeric material formed around the inner material. Additionally, the finger forms 1104 can be fixed or adjustable through an adjustable finger manipulation attachment mechanism. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, there are numerous techniques by which the finger forms 1104 can be adjusted (i.e., through the finger manipulation attachment mechanism). For example, the finger forms 1104 can include tabular extensions 1106 that slide within slots 1108 in the frame 1102. The finger forms 1104 can then be selectively locked into a selected position.

Another example of a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention is shown in FIGS. 12A through 12E. The device is sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's fingers to manipulate the user's fingers. The device uses a frame 1200 that is any suitable shape to fit between and stretch a user's fingers, a non-limiting example of which includes a spiral-shaped device.

As shown in FIGS. 12A through 12E, the device includes a thread or spiral-shaped device that includes rails or helical ridges 1202 to allow a user to insert adjacent fingers 1204 within the helical ridges. As a non-limiting example, a user can place the device between the user's thumb 1204 and index finger 1206. As shown, the frame 1200 is a tapered shape (e.g., conical shaped, like a tapered screw) such that as the user rotates the frame 1200 and the user's fingers are within the ridges 1202, the fingers are actually spread further apart as they wind through the ridges 1202. In other words, the webbing between adjacent fingers (or toes) can be placed within the ridges 1202 (e.g., threads) at a narrow part of the frame 1200. Once within the ridges 1202, a user can rotate the frame 1200 to cause the fingers (or toes) to travel within the ridges 1202 to a wider part of the device, thereby separating the user's fingers or toes.

The helical ridges 1202 can also be referred to as threads. The threads or ridges 1202 in the device include a particular thread angle. For example, in a screw, the angle can be measured by the number of threads within a particular distance, such as threads per inch. In this case, the threads per inch can be changed to alter the relationship from one finger to the next. In other words, as can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the device can be formed to include different threads (i.e., helical ridges) per inch to accommodate different finger pairings.

Yet another aspect of the hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 13 and 14. In this aspect, the device 1300 is sized and shaped to be positioned between a user's finger or fingers to manipulate the user's fingers in multi-axes. The device 1300 uses any suitable shape to manipulate a user's finger or fingers, a non-limiting example of which includes a concave or indented plate 1302 (or indentable plate)

As shown in FIG. 13, the device 1300 includes a concave or otherwise indented plate 1302 that allows a user to position a hand within the indented portion 1303 and extend the fingers while the fingers are positioned against a raised portion 1304 of the plate 1302. Also included are finger separating members 1306 that can be used to separate and stretch the users' finger or fingers. A non-limiting example of such a finger separating member 1306 is a wedge-shape that can be affixed with the indented plate (or move within the plate) to further manipulate the fingers.

FIG. 13 further illustrates the indented plate from a perspective view to provide the reader with understanding of the indented nature of the present invention. As shown, the indented plate 1302 includes a raised (or raisable) portion 1304 and an indented portion 1303.

As shown in FIG. 14, a user can position a hand 1400 within the indented portion 1303 and place the users' finger 1402 or fingers against the raised portion 1304. By pushing the user's palm downward and toward the indented portion 1303, the users' fingers 1402 are effectively stretched.

FIGS. 15 and 16 illustrate yet another aspect of the present invention. The device depicted in FIGS. 15 and 16 includes a frame 1500 with an indented portion 1502 and a raised portion 1504. Also included are a plurality of finger forms 1506 that are formed in the frame to allow a user to position fingers within the finger forms 1506. As a non-limiting example, the finger forms 1506 are a series of indentations or grooves that are formed within the frame 1500.

The device also includes a thumb adjustment mechanism 1508 that allows the user to adjust the device to accommodate hands of varying sizes. Again, as can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, there are numerous techniques by which the thumb adjustment mechanism 1508 can be attached with the frame 1500 to allow for selective adjustment thereto. As a non-limiting example, the thumb adjustment mechanism 1508 includes a tab 1510 that is formed to be selectively attached with one of a plurality of recesses 1512 formed in the frame 1500.

For further illustration, FIG. 16 depicts the thumb adjustment mechanisms 1508 as attached with the frame 1500.

Described below are additional features and items that can be incorporated into a hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention. For illustrative purposes, the features described below are illustrated as being connected with the hand and finger-therapy device depicted in FIG. 17. However, as can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the features, items, and/or elements described below can be attached with, formed with, operable with, etc., any of the hand and finger-therapy devices described herein. As a non-limiting example, the electronic device, implantation device, etc., can be embedded within (or attached externally to) the frame 1200 depicted in FIGS. 12A through 12E. As yet another non-limiting example, the items can be attached with the finger separators depicted in FIGS. 1 through 4 and the attachments depicted in FIGS. 5 through 14.

As shown in FIG. 17, to provide additional therapeutic benefits to a user, an electronic device 1702 is attached with the hand and finger-therapy device 1700. The electronic device 1702 is attached with the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 in any suitable manner to provide a desired therapeutic benefit, non-limiting examples of which include being positioned within an attachment 1704, being attached with the outer surface of the attachment 1704, being positioned within an interior of the frame 1706, and being attached with the outer surface of the frame 1706.

The electronic device 1702 is any suitable mechanism or device for providing a therapeutic benefit, non-limiting examples of which include a vibrating mechanism for massaging and stimulating a user's fingers, a light system (e.g., light-emitting diode (L.E.D.), near infra-red), a heating system (e.g., heating element), a cooling system, a sensor, a sound generating system (e.g., speakers), and a pulsating pressure mechanism. The sensor is any suitable mechanism or device capable of sensing something, non-limiting examples of which include a pressure sensor, a light sensor, and a temperature sensor.

When a sensor is included, the sensor is configured to provide feedback when a predetermined threshold is reached. For example, if the sensor is a pressure sensor, the sensor may create a sound when a certain amount of pressing pressure is reached. As another non-limiting example, if the electronic device 1702 is a heating element, an alarm may be sounded when the temperature reaches a certain degree. The feedback is any suitable feedback for alerting a user, or third party, that the predetermined threshold has been met, non-limiting examples of which include light, sound, vibration, and temperature (e.g., change in temperature). In other words, the feedback is any suitable feedback that can be received and interpreted by a user, third party, or processing unit.

As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the electronic device 1702 requires a power source. The power source may be included within the device, or maintained externally and electrically connected with the electronic device 1702.

In another aspect, a magnet 1710 is attached with the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 to provide a therapeutic benefit. The magnet 1710 is attached with the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 in any suitable manner, non-limiting examples of which include being positioned within an attachment 1704, being attached with the outer surface of the attachment 1704, being positioned within an interior of the frame 1706, and being attached with the outer surface of the frame 1706. For illustrative purposes with respect to FIG. 17, the magnet 1710 is interchangeable with the electronic device 1702.

As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the electronic device 1702 can be controlled through a variety of techniques. For example, a motion sensor 1712 may be connected with electronic device 1702 to actuate the device 1702. In this aspect, the device 1702 is turned on when the motion sensor 1712 detects motion. As another example, a remote control 1714 is connected with the electronic device 1702 to allow a user to selectively control the electronic device 1702, such as by turning it on, off, up, down, and to a time-cycle. The up and down controls relate to functions as applicable to certain electronic devices 1702, such as when the electronic device is a heating element or a vibrating mechanism. Additionally, the remote control 1714 can be either wired or wireless.

With the advent of new computer technologies, it may be desirable to control the electronic device 1700 via a computer (i.e., processing unit). In this aspect, the remote control 1714 is a processing unit that can operate the electronic device 1702. For example, certain computer-controlled therapeutic programs can be operated and controlled via the processing unit. As a specific non-limiting example, a massage therapy program can be used to control the vibrating mechanism, where it increases and decreases the vibrating strength of the vibrating mechanism according to a particular massage therapy program.

In addition to controlling the electronic device 1702, the processing unit can be used to monitor and control the biological functions of the user. For example, the processing unit can be connected to a temperature sensor (e.g., a thermometer 1716) to monitor the user's temperature. If the user's temperature falls outside a predetermined range of temperatures, the processing unit can turn on a heating or cooling system, as appropriate, to heat/cool the user. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, such a monitoring and control feature can also be used to monitor and control external conditions and devices, or other electronic devices, such as lights and a vibrator mechanism.

In yet another aspect, a computer controller chip 1718 can be connected with the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 itself. As was the case above, the chip 1718 is electronically connected with the electronic device 1702 and is used to control the electronic device 1702. The chip 1718 is connected with the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 at any suitable location, non-limiting examples of which include being positioned within an attachment 1704, being attached with the outer surface of the attachment 1704, being positioned within an interior of the frame 1706, and being attached with the outer surface of the frame 1706.

In another aspect, it may be desirable to apply a material (such as a lotion or medicinal cream) to the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 for dispersal around a user's fingers or hand. As shown in FIG. 17, a port 1720 is formed through at least a portion of the frame 1706 (and/or attachments or finger grooves). The port 1720 is formed in any suitable manner to allow a user to insert a material into the port 1720 for dispersal proximate a user's fingers. For example, the port 1720 may have an inlet and an outlet formed in the frame 1706 such that material inserted within the inlet is dispersed to the user's fingers at the outlet.

The material may be applied to the user's fingers and/or hand through a variety of techniques. For example, a reservoir 1722 can be formed in the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 such that a user may position a material into the reservoir 1722. The reservoir 1722 is formed at any suitable location on the hand and finger-therapy device 1700, non-limiting examples of which include being formed in the frame 1706, being formed in a finger indentation, and being formed in an attachment. The reservoir 1722 is formed in any suitable shape to hold the material. For example, the reservoir 1722 may be a simple divot, or may include ribs. The reservoir 1722 can be used to hold materials externally to be delivered on or through the device 1700, non-limiting examples of such materials include scented liquids, lotions, powders, and medicinal products.

As shown in FIG. 17, the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 can also include a variety of implantation elements. In addition to the electronic devices described above, the implantation element is any suitable element that can be implanted, either fully or partially, within the hand and finger-therapy device 1700. Although illustrated as being fully implanted at various locations within the hand and finger-therapy device 1700, the present invention is not intended to be limited thereto as the implantation elements, can be affixed within the device 1700 at any desired location and at any desired implantation depth.

The implantation element can be used to provide a variety of cosmetic, ornamental, entertainment, therapeutic, and educational benefits. As a non-limiting example, the implantation element is a light or a series of lights 1730. The lights 1730 can be used for a variety of purposes, non-limiting examples of which include light therapy and messaging. For example, the lights 1730 can be used for light therapy, where the light being emitted is within a range of the light spectrum (e.g., infrared) that provides a therapeutic benefit to the user.

As another example, the lights 1730 can be used as a messaging system. If the lights are used as a light messaging system (such as a light emitting diode (LED) system), the lights 1730 can be used to generate a variety of messages for entertainment, educational, ornamental, and advertisement purposes. In another aspect, the implantation element can be a display device 1732 that is used to display a variety of messages. As a non-limiting example, the display device 1732 can be a plastic disk (or any other suitable shape) that includes logos of recognizable sports teams, groups, companies, events, etc. (e.g., Coca-Cola™, Detroit Red Wings™, Beverly Hills Hotel™, etc.). As described above, the hand and finger-therapy device 1700 can be formed of a transparent material (e.g., a clear or colorless elastomeric gel or other transparent material). It should be noted that the device 1700 can also be formed of translucent tents with color that allow for light to pass therethrough. Thus, when the display device 1732 is inserted within the hand and finger-therapy device 1700, a user can easily see and read any messages imprinted upon or otherwise displayed by the display device 1732.

Another non-limiting example of an implantation element is a thermometer 1716 or other suitable sensing device. As described above, the thermometer 1716 (or other sensing device) can be used to monitor and control the biological functions of the user to provide for therapeutic benefits.

As yet another non-limiting example, the implantation element can be a magnet 1710 or several magnets. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the magnet 1710 can be used to provide a therapeutic benefit to the user. In another aspect, the magnet 1710 can be used to attach an external object with the device 1700 and thereby operate as an attachment mechanism to magnetically attach external objects with the device 1700.

It should be understand that the device described herein (and all of its various components) may be constructed of any suitable material, non-limiting examples of which include plastic, metal silicone, cork, foam, and elastomer. Further, the device can be formed of an elastomeric material having elastomeric properties. Additionally, the device may be optionally inflatable or filled with a fluid. When inflatable, the device may be inflatable to various pressures. Furthermore, the device may be formed through any suitable means for forming such a device, non-limiting examples of which include injection molding, cast molding, compression molding, and extrusion molding.

Additionally, the present invention includes a method for manipulating a user's digits (i.e., fingers). The method comprises acts of positioning the users hand within the device and operating the device as described above to manipulate the user's fingers. As a non-limiting example, the method comprises acts of positioning adjacent digits within rails or helical ridges (as depicted in FIGS. 12A through 12E) in a tapered screw-like shape and rotating the shape to cause the adjacent digits to spread further apart as the digits travel within the ridges. As yet another non-limiting example, the method comprises acts of positioning the user's hand within the indented portion (as depicted in the device of FIGS. 13 through 16) and pressing the user's hand into the indented portion to manipulate the users' finger or fingers away from the user's palm.

Finally, the present invention comprising a method of forming the hand and finger-therapy device according to the present invention. The method comprises a plurality of acts of forming and attaching each of the components described herein to arrive at the hand and finger-therapy device of the present invention.