Title:
Toilet Seat and Cover Position Detection System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toilet seat and cover position detection system that includes a toilet assembly in a room with a door wherein a two position toilet seat cover is attached to the toilet assembly. Attached to the seat cover is a transmitter device means whereby the transmitter device is activated to broadcast a signal when the seat cover is in the vertical position. A receiver device means attached to the door and activated upon opening the door, detects the transmitter broadcast signal emitted when the seat cover is in the raised position. When a signal is detected, an alarm device means is activated by the receiver device and notifies user that the seat cover is in the raised position as the user opens the door to exit. The transmitter device means may also be attached to a two position toilet seat.



Inventors:
Madden, Robert Brian (Poughquag, NY, US)
Madden, Karen Popek (Poughquag, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/205884
Publication Date:
03/11/2010
Filing Date:
09/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KAREN P. MADDEN (463 GARDNER HOLLOW ROAD, POUGHQUAG, NY, 12570, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toilet seat cover position detection system comprising: a. a toilet assembly in a room with a door wherein a two position toilet seat cover attached to the toilet assembly, said positions being vertical or horizontal; b. a transmitter device attached to the toilet seat cover, said transmitter device transmits a signal when the toilet seat cover is in the vertical position; c. a receiver device attached to the door, said receiver device is activated when the door is opened whereby said activated receiver device detects the presence of said transmitter device signal; d. and an alarm device attached to said receiver device whereby the alarm device is activated when said receiver device detects the transmitter device signal.

2. The transmitter device according to claim 1, is comprised of a switch, a signal generating device, and a power source.

3. The switch according to claim 2, is a two state mercury switch.

4. The signal generating device according to claim 2 is a radio frequency generator.

5. The power source according to claim 2 is a battery.

6. The receiver device according to claim 1 is comprised of a switch, a signal detector, a power source and an alarm device.

7. The switch according to claim 6 is a dual position pressure switch.

8. The signal detector according to claim 6 is a radio frequency detector.

9. The receiver device according to claim 6, further includes a kill switch and a timer circuit.

10. The alarm device according to claim 6 is a sound generating device.

11. A toilet seat position detection system comprising: a. a toilet assembly in a room with a door wherein a two position toilet seat attached to the toilet assembly, said positions being vertical or horizontal; b. a transmitter device attached to the toilet seat, said transmitter device transmits a signal when the toilet seat is in the vertical position; c. a receiver device attached to the door, said receiver device is activated when the door is opened whereby said activated receiver device detects the presence of said transmitter device signal; d. and an alarm device attached to said receiver device whereby the alarm device is activated when said receiver device detects the transmitter device signal.

12. The transmitter device according to claim 12, is comprised of a switch, a signal generating device, and a power source.

13. The switch according to claim 13, is a two state mercury switch.

14. The signal generating device according to claim 13 is a radio frequency generator.

15. The power source according to claim 13 is a battery.

16. The receiver device according to claim 12 is comprised of a switch, a signal detector, a power source and an alarm device.

17. The switch according to claim 17 is a dual position pressure switch.

18. The signal detector according to claim 17 is a radio frequency detector.

19. The receiver device according to claim 17, further includes a kill switch and a timer circuit.

20. The alarm device according to claim 17 is a sound generating device.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a device for detecting the position of a toilet seat cover once a user exits the bathroom.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The position of a toilet seat and toilet seat cover when the toilet is not in use has long been a problem for several reasons the foremost being between women and men. It is universally recognized that a problem arises when, after a man uses the toilet for urination, the seat is not in a position conducive for use by a woman. Arguments commonly arise between men and women as to the “correct” resting position of the toilet seat when not in use. Although this seems to be the most well known issue regarding the position of the toilet seat and cover there are actually more practical and safety issues. The first being that of small children throwing things into the toilet that could plug the toilet mechanism. There is also the potential problem of toddlers falling into the toilet and drowning. Yet another problem with the toilet seat cover in the raised position is that animals, particularly dogs, tend to drink water from the toilet which may not be safe for the family pet and creates hygiene concerns for people if the pets drink from the toilet and then have contact with humans.

It can be reasonably assumed that the toilet seat cover was intended to be used to close the toilet bowl from these mentioned issues and therefore it can be appreciated that a device is needed to remind users that the cover should rest in the down position, covering the bowl from the aforementioned events.

Attempts have been made to address these issues. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,849,742 Warrington, Jul. 18, 1989 Toilet Seat Cover Position which describes a means to determine the raised position of the toilet seat cover based on a flush sensing mechanism. It is only by the flush process is the seat cover determined to be in the raised or lowered position. If for reasons the toilet is not flushed and the seat cover remains in the up position, no alarm is sounded.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,926,099 Unum, Jul. 20, 1999 Electronic Lid Position Signal describes a signaling means that is always activated when the seat or cover are raised. This means that the alarm is on while the toilet is in use which could be quite annoying for long usages of the toilet.

These prior art examples illustrate the effort to solve the problem of reminding toilet users to lower the toilet seat cover after use but are limited by either the design that requires a specific function of the toilet, as in flushing, or may be an annoying sound, even in the form of music, while using the toilet. The approach of the present invention provides for a suitable, home and family friendly solution.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention disclosed herein pertains generally to an apparatus for detecting the position of a toilet seat cover. More specifically, it applies to a sensor that detects the position of the toilet seat cover in either the raised position or the lowered position and provides for an alarm to indicate the seat cover is in the raised, or vertical position when the door to the bathroom is opened.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1: general environment of the present invention

FIG. 2: toilet seat and seat cover position

FIG. 3: transmitter device description

FIG. 4: receiver device description

FIG. 5: flow diagram of transmitter device operation

FIG. 6: flow diagram of receiver device operation

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing that illustrates the general environment in which the present invention would preferably be used. In particular, there is a toilet assembly 20 located in a room 10 with a door 30, conventionally known as a bathroom. The toilet assembly contains a toilet bowl 40, a two position toilet seat 50 and a two position seat cover 60. FIG. 2a illustrates the toilet seat 50 and toilet seat cover 60 in the lowered or horizontal position and FIG. 2b illustrates the raised or vertical position for the toilet seat and toilet seat cover. Although this invention may be installed on either the toilet seat or toilet seat cover, the preferred implementation will be henceforth detailed with respect to the toilet seat cover.

Referring to FIG. 3, a transmitting or transmitter device means 70, known hereinafter as the transmitter of the present invention is attached to the toilet seat cover by any known mechanical means such as glue, Velcro, or screws as an example. The transmitter is comprised of a switch means 100, a signal generating device means 120 and a power source means 140. As an example, the switch is a two state, on or off, mercury switch but any switch that will activate by a change in the position of the seat cover may be used. Switches may be of the magnetic, optical, or electronic activated type or any switches known to those skilled in the art that can be adapted to activate as the result of the change in the position of the seat cover.

The signal generator in the preferred embodiment is a radio frequency or RF generator. Signal generator technologies such as optical or microwave may be used or any technologies known to those skilled in the art as long as it generates a signal that can be recognized by a complementary receiving device.

The power source in the preferred embodiment is any commercially available battery, sized appropriate to the signal generator. AC power may also be used. Mechanically generated power source devices such as a hand crank may also be used to provide green power source alternatives.

In FIG. 4 the receiver device means 80 is attached to the door by any known mechanical means such as glue, Velcro, or screws as an example. The receiver is comprised of a switch means 200, a signal detector means 220, a power source means 240 and an alarm device means 250.

In a preferred embodiment, the switch 200 is a dual position pressure switch. Alternative switch technologies can be used such as magnetic relay switch, mercury switch or any known two position switch that will change state when the door is opened.

The signal detector 220 technology is consistent with the signal generator technology and may be of the type RF, optical, microwave or any detector technology compatible with the signal generator technology. The signal detector in the preferred embodiment is a radio frequency, RF detector. The frequency of the signal detector is consistent with the frequency generated by the signal generator.

The alarm device 250 is any audible, sound generator or visual signal such as a light bulb created for the purpose of indicating the seat cover is in the raised or lowered position.

The power source 240 in the preferred embodiment is any commercially available battery sized appropriate to the demands of the signal detector plus the alarm. Mechanically generated power source devices such as a hand crank may also be used to provide green power source alternatives. The signal detector and alarm may be wired to use AC power.

A disable device or kill switch 260 may be attached within the receiver circuitry between the power source and the alarm in the event manual disablement of the alarm is desired.

In an alternate embodiment a timer circuit 280 can also be added to the receiver circuitry. The timer circuit will allow for a shutoff of the alarm after a preset time has elapsed.

The function of the present invention is now described. Normal state of the present invention is the seat cover is in the lowered position and the door to the bathroom is open.

To begin, an individual enters the bathroom and closes the door. Closing the door does not activate any components of the invention. The individual lifts the seat cover for normal use. Referring to FIG. 5, the action of raising the seat cover causes the transmitter switch to complete the circuit thus providing power from the battery to the transmitter. The transmitter begins broadcasting a signal. If the individual fails to lower the seat cover at the completion of usage, then when the individual opens the door to exit the bathroom, the action of opening the door causes the receiver switch to complete the circuit, providing power to signal detector. Referring to FIG. 6, if the signal detector detects a signal from the transmitter, the detector circuitry creates a condition that allows power to flow to the alarm notifying the individual that the seat cover is in the raised position. To stop the alarm the individual returns the seat cover to the lowered position thereby ending the signal broadcasted by the transmitter. The signal detector no longer detects a signal and removes power from the alarm and detector circuitry thereby turning off the alarm and the signal detector. The present invention has been returned to normal state where both the transmitter and receiver circuitries are off.

If the individual had lowered the seat cover after usage, referring to FIG. 5, then the transmitter would have ceased signal broadcast and when the door was opened, no signal would be detected by the signal detector and the alarm would not be activated.

While the inventive device has been described and illustrated herein by reference to certain preferred embodiments in relation to the drawings attached, various changes and further modifications, apart from those shown or suggested herein, may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the inventive concept.





 
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