Title:
Pronation Accessory
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for hygienically supporting the pronated torso, with a chest support and two independent hip supports that provide a determined amount of lift along the front of the body to achieve spinal hygiene. Additionally, the invention includes unique cutouts to prevent pain in sensitive areas, and to promote free breathing, sexual access, and patient mobility.



Inventors:
Crompton, Walter H. (San Mateo, CA, US)
Miceli, Nancy (San Mateo, CA, US)
Crompton, Philip (San Mateo, CA, US)
Morales, Jennifer (San Mateo, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/587348
Publication Date:
12/06/2012
Filing Date:
08/16/2012
Assignee:
CROMPTON WALTER H.
MICELI NANCY
CROMPTON PHILIP
MORALES JENNIFER
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C20/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040025256Multilayered pocketed bedding or seating productFebruary, 2004Mossbeck
20080201849Patient Handling System Whereby a patient Table Top Can Move Over a Table BaseAugust, 2008Van Es et al.
20090193585Slip-Notz (TM), an elasticized fabric-covered bed bandAugust, 2009Winn
20080172799Suspended flexible matrix support systemJuly, 2008Constantinescu et al.
20020042953Support pillow kit with toy barApril, 2002Matthews Brown
20100011506DISPOSABLE TRANSPORTERJanuary, 2010Jensen et al.
20100024131UNIVERSAL SUPPORT PILLOWFebruary, 2010Palmer et al.
20090106895Infant cradling deviceApril, 2009Beers
20070085695Natural unterine sound producing crib linerApril, 2007Nerurkar
20060107456Collapsible platform bed with integral storage chestMay, 2006Joseph
20060225207Lock channel clip for a crib safety netOctober, 2006Johnson



Primary Examiner:
ADEBOYEJO, IFEOLU A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VivaFina (1726 Gum Street San Mateo CA 94402)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A personal pronater to support a person in a proclined position, comprising: a chest support section having an upper chest section, a central chest section, and a lower chest section, with the upper chest section, the central chest section, and the lower chest section having a substantially contiguous top surface and a substantially contiguous bottom surface; and a pair of hip supports, wherein the upper chest section has a pair of shoulder supports, the lower chest section has a pair of lower rib supports and an upper abdomen support curving down from the lower rib supports, the shoulder supports, the lower rib supports, the joiners, and the hip supports are respectively minor symmetric along a center line, the shoulder supports have shoulder support tips and between the shoulder support tips there is a trachea cutout to ensures free breathing and comfort, the center chest section is mirrored along the center line and is narrowed to provide breast cutouts on both sides of the center chest section, the lower chest section, the lower rib supports, the joiners, and the hip supports surrounds an abdominal cutout region, and there is a genital cutout between the hip supports.

2. The personal pronater of claim 1, further comprising: a pair of joiners connecting the lower chest section to the hip supports

3. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein in the proclined position, the central chest section cradles the person's sternum and chest with precise surface contouring, the shoulder supports include complex contouring to optimize free movement and resting comfort, the lower rib supports are contoured to enhance weight distribution on the ribs. and lower chest section has a slightly concave profile to outer edges of the lower chest section.

4. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein each shoulder support is substantially a 3 radian sweep at a top upper corners of upper chest section with edge radii >0.4 inches.

5. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein in the proclined position, the person's sternum is pressed against the center chest section, the person's breasts rest in the breast cutouts, and the center chest section has a width, and the narrowest part of the width is about 3 inches.

6. The personal pronater of claim 2, wherein the joiners are thin and elongated structures.

7. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein each hip support has a diagonal rounded peak, the diagonal rounded peak divides the hip support to a abdomen region and a hip region, the abdomen region and the hip region slope downward from the diagonal rounded peak, a leveled plain from the diagonal rounded peak defines an abdomen angle with the abdomen region, the level plain defines a hip bend angle with hip region, and the abdomen angle is about 10-14°, and hip bend angle is about 16-22°.

8. The personal pronater of claim 7, wherein in the proclined position, the person's iliac crests rest at approximately the centers of the diagonal rounded peaks, the person's torso presses against the torso regions, and person's the hips press against the hip regions.

9. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein in the proclined position, the abdominal cutout accommodates the person's rectus abdominis muscles, allowing free movement of the person's diaphragm for breathing.

10. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein the personal pronater is made from or inflated with compliant materials.

11. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein the personal pronater is made from molded EVA plastic foam.

12. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein the personal pronater is placed on a flat surface, in the proclined position on the personal pronater, the person's sternum is elevated about 4.2-5.2 inches above the flat surface, defining a sternum elevation, the person's forehead is elevated about 1.0 inch above the flat surface, the person's iliac crest is elevated about 0.7 inches above the sternum elevation, and the person's clavicle tip is elevated about 1.3 inches above the sternum elevation.

13. The personal pronater of claim 1, wherein the trachea cutout recede from the shoulder support tips for about 0.5-1.0 inches, allowing trachea comfort and head movement.

14. A personal pronater 1 to support a person in a proclined position, comprising: a chest support section having an upper chest section, a central chest section, and a lower chest section, with the upper chest section, the central chest section, and the lower chest section having a substantially contiguous top surface and a substantially contiguous bottom surface; a pair of hip supports; and a pair of joiners connecting the lower chest section to the hip supports, wherein the upper chest section has a pair of shoulder supports, the lower chest section has a pair of lower rib supports and an upper abdomen support curving down from the lower rib support, the shoulder supports, the lower rib supports, the joiners, and the hip supports are respectively mirror symmetric along a center line, each shoulder support is substantially a 3 radian sweep at a top upper corners of upper chest section, defining a shoulder support tip, between the shoulder support tips there is a trachea cutout to ensures free breathing and comfort, the center chest section is mirrored along the center line and is narrowed to provide breast cutouts on both sides of the center chest section, the lower chest section, the lower rib supports, the joiners, and the hip supports surrounds an abdominal cutout region, and there is a genital cutout between the hip supports, the joiners are thin and elongated structures, and in the proclined position, the central chest section cradles the person's sternum and chest with precise surface contouring, the person's breasts rest in the breast cutouts and are accessible from outside, the abdominal cutout accommodates the person's rectus abdominis muscles, allowing free movement of the person's diaphragm for breathing.

15. The personal pronater of claim 14, wherein each hip support has a diagonal rounded peak, the diagonal rounded peak divides the hip support to a abdomen region and a hip region, the abdomen region and the hip region sloping downward from the diagonal rounded peak, a leveled plain from the diagonal rounded peak defines a abdomen angle with the abdomen region, the level plain defines a hip bend angle with hip region, the abdomen angle is about 10-14°, and hip bend angle 392 is about 16-22°. and in the proclined position, the iliac crests rest at approximately the centers of the diagonal rounded peaks, the torso presses against the torso regions, and the hips press against the hip regions.

16. The personal pronater of claim 14, wherein the personal pronater is made from or inflated with compliant materials.

17. The personal pronater of claim 14, wherein the joiners are thin and elongated structures.

18. The personal pronater of claim 14, further comprising: a cranial pillow attached to the upper chest section, wherein in the proclined position, the person's head rests on the cranial pillow.

19. The personal pronater of claim 14, further comprising: a shim positioned under the bottom surface.

20. The personal pronater of claim 14, wherein and in the proclined position, the person's genitalia is positioned in the genitalia cutout and accessible.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This is a continuation-in-part application based on U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/099,902 filed on May 3, 2011, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/330,476 filed May 3, 2010, the contents of both prior applications are fully incorporated herein by reference. The '902 application is currently pending.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an accessory that enables safe and comfortable proclining, for an extended period of time, in a substantially prone position, of compact profile suitable for occasional or routine use on a typical home or clinic bed.

DEFINITIONS

When used herein, listed definitions and conventions supersede alternate interpretations:

Hygiene: promotion and preservation of health. Gravity eventually renders any fixed position unhealthful, and what is initially comfortable grows less so if there is no variation.
Morning pain: increased or new pain associated with awakening from sleep. Morning pain is a precursor to lasting harm, but sleep hazards are not necessarily so revealed.
Procline: to lean forward. A procliner allows relaxation in one or more proclined positions. To be proclined, with torso, legs and head essentially facing gravity is to be lying prone. A device that establishes hygienic prone positioning is a pronater or prone procliner.
Prone: positioned facing fully downward, with torso, legs and head substantially facing gravity; opposite of supine. Hygienic pronation, awake and mobile or not, requires a pronation support system or pronater, in order to prevent spinal misalignment, restricted breathing, excessive immobility, abrasion, and localized discomfort or blood flow restriction that is associated with unassisted pronation. A pronater should be suitable for at least three hours of use, with negligible risk. The torso support section of a pronater is the invention described herein, with pillows and other accessories not addressed.
Sleep: herein is sleep, paralysis, numbness or unconsciousness that prevents normal response to pain that would stimulate repositioning prior to lasting harm. Hygienic sleep is sleep in which circulation and breathing are adequate for at least three hours, without morning pain upon awakening or associated long term pathology. Everyday sleep is any of the common sleep modes of healthy people. Sleep is the worst possible use scenario, since the user is not able to respond to the natural pain signals, inviting pathology.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention (“invention” hereafter) proposes a small, lightweight, and inexpensive torso pronater that quickly adapts to almost any flat surface. This is achieved with compliant materials sculpted to support the torso, and by removing non-supportive material. The invention is to be used in conjunction with other pronation system accessories not fully disclosed herein, especially a cranial pillow to enhance breathing, weight distribution, and spinal alignment; and a relatively trivial ankle pillow for lower leg and toe comfort.

Every rest position has time-dependent features and risks. Specialists agree that substantially supine and lateral positions are safer choices for everyday sleep. In everyday sleep, a lateral sleeper may lean forward, but increasing pronation becomes increasingly pathological, and during periods of semi-consciousness, a shift in position normally occurs, hopefully in time to prevent morning pain. Some adults are comfortable nearly prone, aided by standard pillows, and with neck and limbs twisted as needed, but even if so, specialists recommend against it, largely because of cumulative spinal damage and breathing impairment. Acute and chronic harm are positively associated with unaided prone sleep. Still, hygienic pronation is a precious alternative, if available, for personal preference, therapy or recovery. This invention significantly extends the time limitation of hygienic pronation compared to previous art, and is uniquely practical for travel, medical, massage, and home applications.

The invention exploits capable skeletal structures to elevate the user just enough above a flat bed to alleviate the most acute risks associated with unassisted pronation. To extend usage time, support surfaces are contoured to optimally distribute weight and enable movement, and to minimize spinal and breathing stress. The invention has small and highly portable profile. Clearances for tender tissues and predictable bedroom behavior are key features.

Cost is a barrier to hygienic prone sleep at this time. The invention is adaptable to inexpensive materials and mass production, by design.

Summarizing, the invention enables versatile, comfortable and hygienic pronation in a minimized form, designed to be inexpensively produced.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

U.S. Pat. No. 7,536,735 discloses a system configured to ensure a sleeping person remains in a desired position. The system includes a head pillow and a leg pillow. The head pillow includes a locating area configured to receive a portion of the head. In addition, the head pillow is configured with a void configured to receive a portion of an arm of the user. The leg pillow includes a receiving area configured to receive a portion of the leg of the user. The leg pillow is generally located between the legs of the person and maintains the legs in a substantially parallel and spaced relationship.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,185,768 discloses a cushion support to be placed on a horizontal surface, to allow a woman to lie prone without exerting pressure on the breasts. The cushion support includes an elongated block of foam material, the front section of which is horizontally oriented and supports the upper rib cage and the sternum of the user, and a wedge-shaped lower section which supports the torso of the user. Vertically oriented dome-shaped recesses are provided to accommodate the breasts. In use, the breasts of the user are able to descend into the recesses with little or no direct contact. The device is particularly designed to be used after surgical procedures to the breasts. A second preferred embodiment includes a substantially wedge-shaped elongate portion of foam rubber material having a planar lower face to be placed on a horizontal surface, a vertically oriented front face, two vertically oriented side faces, and a planar top face inclined at an angle of approximately 45 degree. Contoured recesses are provided in the front face to support the breasts.

These and various other implements are known in the art, but all fail to address the set of problems solved by the invention described herein. One embodiment of this invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings and will be described in more detail herein below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Disclosed is a torso pronater to be used atop a bed or any other surface that is substantially flat and orthogonal to gravity. The invention contains a chest support, twin hip supports, and open volumes in locations inappropriate for bearing weight or that require freedom of movement.

The chest and hip supports are two distinct but interacting sections, with strategic voids between them, established by assessment of human physiology when prone. The chest support includes features to enhance tracheal comfort, shoulder, neck and arm movement, breast comfort and access, broadened weight distribution, and spinal hygiene. At a user-variable distance, twin contoured supports employ the hip's iliac crests to bear the lower torso and upper leg weight. Unique voids between these supports enhance usability and free breathing. The hip and chest support sections elevate the torso only enough to accommodate these factors.

Besides enhancing free breath and movement, unique voiding of nonfunctioning material in the invention also minimizes size, weight, production, and disposal costs.

In the preferred invention embodiment, the three independent, minimalist, flat-bottomed, plastic foam chest and hip supports are capable of significant customization for exceptional needs.

For convenience, hip and/or chest supports may be joined by flexible segments, and may integrate a cranial pillow.

SUMMARY OF BENEFITS AND OBJECTIVES

The invention confers the following benefits, based upon design objectives, as applied to applications of sleep, medical staging and recovery, sexual interaction, and massage:

The invention extends maximum continuous pronation time without harm or pain. This arises from an objective to reduce tissue stresses with detailed ergonomic contouring.

The invention offers enhanced comfort compared to existing alternatives. This arises from a design objective to establish ergonomic contouring to alleviate or delay tissue stresses.

The invention anticipates reduced production costs compared to existing alternatives. This is the result of a design objective to minimize cost.

The invention has an especially small, lightweight, easily stored, and portable profile. This is the result of a design objective to define minimum required elevations; to remove material not essential to support; to establish a design amenable to manufacture with lightweight materials; and to establish a device compatible with existing home and clinical environments.

The invention, by design, is ready for construction with molded, layered, hypoallergenic, sturdy, light, reusable, cleanable, EVA plastic foam, which is amenable to mass production.

The invention can be easily customized, such as by cutting away material in the region of a wound, or elevating some fraction of it. This reflects the design objective of plastic foam construction and widespread usability. For example, modification with shims and a cranial support could enable hygienic reading, gaming, etc., while pronated.

A benefit, by design, of the invention is to provide a pronater that better considers breasts and sex organs, including comfort, and enabling coitus more ferarum sexual interaction.

A benefit of the invention, based upon a design objective, is to provide an accessible, hygienic pronater optimized for sleep, medical procedures, medical recovery, back massage, and coitus more ferarum; and deployable almost instantly on any semi-flat surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective top view of a preferred embodiment, illustrating mirror symmetry along a central longitudinal line, and enumerating key features.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of a preferred embodiment, similar to FIG. 1, and also with cut-away views for additional detail.

FIG. 3 shows a side view of a preferred embodiment not in use, few standing on a bed,

FIG. 4 is a side view of a preferred embodiment in use by a person, enumerating critical hip, chest and forehead elevation targets, among other parameters.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a preferred embodiment in a speculative use by a person, showing how the invention could be readily adapted to reading, gaming, etc., that are currently not comfortable for more than a few minutes while pronated.

DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to drawings. Such embodiments are provided by way of explanation of the invention, which is not intended to be limited thereto. Those of ordinary skill in the art may appreciate upon reviewing the material herein that various modifications and variations can be made thereto. Identical elements in the various figures are identified with the same reference numerals.

On torso pronater 1 of FIGS. 1 and 2, chest support section 10 is divided into an upper chest section 11, a central chest section 12, and a lower chest section 13. An upper abdomen support 130 curves down from the lower rib support 131 to the bed, to provide slight but comforting lift, and serves as a tangible guide for user self-placement. Upper chest support section 11 provides primary lift for the torso above the breasts. Shoulder supports 111 include complex contouring to optimize free movement and resting comfort. Near dividing line 50, trachea cutout 110 ensures free breathing and trachea comfort, and is made wider to ensure neck mobility.

Central chest section 12 cradles the sternum and nearby bodily formations with precise surface contouring. It is mirrored along dividing line 50 and is narrowed for breast cutouts 120 that provide clearance for breasts to hang freely, and with easy side access; preventing breasts from bearing torso weight, without unnecessary confinement.

Lower chest section 13 includes lower rib supports 131, contoured to enhance weight distribution on local bone structures, as illustrated in FIG. 2, View A-A, without encroaching on the breast cutouts 120 and the abdominal cutout region 200. Lower rib supports 131 may extend wider than the other chest sections, since no allowance is needed for shoulder movement.

Nested within joiners 201, lower rib supports 131, hip supports 301, and upper abdomen support 130 is an abdominal cutout region 200, intended to remove weight pressure on the area covered by the rectus abdominis muscle complex, commonly known as the abdomen or tummy, and to allow easy diaphragm movement for free breathing. Optionally connecting (as shown) the lower rib support 131, upper abdomen support 130 and hip supports 301, are joiners 201. Joiners 201 are non-essential, soft, flexible elements integrated into the weight-bearing segments to establish a one-piece device that loosely places hip supports 301 near to their use positions. Joiners 201 may be as shown in FIG. 2, sweeping outward, then back to the hip supports 301.

Hip support section 30 notably includes twin independent hip supports 301 and genitalia cutout 300. Hip supports 301 are optionally (as shown) attached to joiners 201, as explained above, but may also employ a similar joiner (not shown) across dividing line 50, to prevent splaying of the hip supports. The complex shape of hip supports is illustrated by FIG. 2 views B-B, C-C, and D-D. For example, experimentation has shown that abdomen bend angle 391 in View B-B should be 10-15°, and hip bend angle 392 should be 16-23°. Hip supports 301 are thus made integral (as shown) with the chest support 10, but may also be disconnected (not shown) since they act independently of the chest support areas. Hip supports 301 are nominally opposite each other along dividing line 50. Joiners 201 are sufficiently long and flexible to allow comfortable hip support placement for a wide range of body sizes. The area between hip supports 301 is genital cutout 300, deliberately voided to allow sensitive male genitalia to hang loose and bear no weight, and to limit pressure on the lower abdomen, and to ease access and sexual interaction.

Sidewalls 40 are broad outer edges of weight-bearing volumes throughout the invention. Sidewalls 40 are typically shown orthogonal to the base, but they may be tapered, puffed, or curved for material optimization, appearance or ease of manufacture, and typically include smoothed intersections with surrounding surfaces as an appearance and comfort feature. Some sidewall segments are further enumerated herein to highlight special features.

The invention offers unique, hygienic spinal alignment. Looking from front or back, a relaxed spine is nominally straight, corresponding to dividing line 50, but complex when viewed from the sides. Hygienic spinal curve, as applies to pronation, is heretofore not well-defined. Experimentation led to the absolute and relative lift and tilt jointly created by hip support region 30 and chest support region 10, expressed in FIG. 4 as in-use sternum elevation 190 to the depression at the sternum base, hip elevation 390 to the iliac crest tips, clavicle tip elevation 193, and forehead elevation 191 to its most downward point. These dimensions maintain a specific relationship in the invention, with sternum elevation 190 (to the hollow in the chest) being 4.2″ to 5.2″ above the bed, the hip elevation 390 being nominally 0.7″ higher than sternum elevation 190; clavicle tip elevation 193 being nominally 1.3″ higher than sternum elevation 190; and forehead elevation 191 nominally 1.0″ above the bed but user-determined, depending upon the cranial pillow, personal physiology and necessary length of use. At nominal values, these elevations together provide enough torso elevation to enable hygienic pronation for most adults, but could be slightly changed without substantive change to the invention using shims, or otherwise customizing a section for unique needs.

When using the invention, spine and neck are nominally aligned within a plane that bisects the torso, defined by central dividing line 50 and vertical bisector 55. Flexible joiners 201 allow a range of sideways and rotational motion of the hip supports 301, to accommodate deviations from nominal body shape, with minimum material volume.

Additional torso lift is possible but would shift additional weight onto the invention, reducing extended usage capability, unless weight bearing surfaces are further broadened.

In addition to generalized chest anatomy and physiology conformance, sternum elevation 190 has been established by the required amount of abdominal cutout 200, alignment to hip supports 301, accommodation of forehead elevation 191, accommodation of shoulder movement at the shoulder supports 111 and relief to prevent excessive pressure on the breasts with open sided breast cutouts 120. The elevation required for breathing and spinal hygiene naturally provides room enough to suspend breasts within open sided breast cutouts 120, which leave the suspended breasts accessible from the outer sides, and which may have one or more sloped sidewalls, to better balance comfort and support.

Arm movement restriction can be an obstacle to comfort. Lifting the torso above the bed relieves this, but increased elevation adversely affects other features. Illustrations herein reflect an embodiment that lifts most adults no more than necessary for hygienic pronation.

Vasculature in the forward part of the shoulder can present an obstacle to hygienic pronation. If not anticipated, blood flow to the arm may be restricted. Shoulder supports 111 have unique contouring that addresses comfort, hygiene, and free arm movement.

The trachea is the leading bony edge of the neck, suspended between the clavicles and the lower jaw. Trachea cutout 110 accommodates its forward position and pressure sensitivity, without sacrificing utility of nearby weight-bearing body structures.

Detailed ergonomic contouring is integral to supporting surfaces of the invention, to optimally accommodate movement and points of sensitivity, and to maximally distribute weight according to natural curvatures and underlying body structures. For example, rib cage cross-section, and ideal spinal orientation when prone vary as you move along the spine. Flat or grossly contoured prior art do not provide the detailed matching of human form found in the invention, which is critical to extended usage comfort.

The resting neck naturally bends forward; more so when facing down, and varying with age and individual. Depending upon these factors and preference, the forehead may or may not be closer to the bed than the nose. The invention provides lift and contouring to position an average user's forehead and nose tip above the bed by 0.0-4.0″, depicted in FIG. 4 as forehead height 191, depending on the cranial pillow used. Standard head pillow forms may be manipulated to support the head and allow free breathing, but a dedicated, contoured pillow could provide greater comfort and spinal hygiene. Figure illustrations herein depict an elementary flat cranial pillow extension 600 in dotted lines, as a placeholder for a superior pillow that may or may not be integrated into the procliner. Lift provided by the invention defines key features of the cranial pillow accessory, but hygienic cranial support is only touched upon herein. For brief usage, cranial pillow extension 600 may be a flat tongue of the bulk material, with just enough thickness to be rugged, to clear the area around the user's nostrils, and to diffuse head weight. Precise surface contouring, softened upper surface, and unique ventilation may be required to achieve several hours of user comfort. FIG. 4 is a hybrid side view of the invention in use, illustrating that the chest is lifted enough to support various head positions if appropriate pillows are made available. Chest elevation provided by the invention is enough to ensure that typical adults are able to find hygienic, comfortable positions with a proper pillow. The user's left arm is shown unnaturally raised in FIG. 4 to reveal key pillow features, but would normally rest on the bed anywhere shoulder movement allows.

The invention may be made from or inflated with a large variety of compliant materials suitable for resting upon, such as plastic foam, gel, liquid, gas, feathers, down, fibers, or granular fills. A combination of materials may be suitable, or different portions may be made from different materials, constrained by requirements for safety, comfort and durability. For inexpensive mass production with detailed contouring and excellent properties, molded EVA plastic foam is the preferred material, and this is reflected by the illustration figures herein. The invention at rest is a minor image along a plane coincident with central dividing line 50 and perpendicular to (flat) bottom surface 400 (see FIG. 2); that is, mirrored halves split by the plane defined by dividing line 50 and vertical bisector 55. Some details of upper surface contouring are illustrated in the cut-away views of FIG. 2. Detailed and unique contouring uniquely extends maximum period of comfortable usage.

Outer surfaces illustrated in the figures may act as fillable chamber walls in alternate constructions. If present, chambers may contain valves or other openings to manage the filler. The walls may be made out of textiles, such as cotton or leather, or of fused plastic sheeting if hermetic chambering is required. The walls may include one or more chambers that can be variably filled to allow different levels of support to different body sections.

Prior art devices may provide clearances for genitalia, abdomen, shoulders, arms or breasts, but are predominantly for occasional spa usage, and not adequate for hours of continuous daily usage on a typical home bed, and do not enable sexual function.

FIG. 2 refers to the top view of the preferred invention, and includes cut-away views to clarify certain features. Shown are torso pronater 1, including central dividing line 50, vertical bisector 55, a chest support section 10, subdivided into an upper (11) middle (12) and lower (13) chest sections, with trachea cutout 110, breast cutouts 120, and an upper abdominal support 130. View A-A illustrates some of the surface contouring in this section. Within the abdominal section 20, are joiners 201 and abdominal cutout 200. Hip support section 30 is also shown, highlighting hip supports 301 and 300, with Views B-B, C-C, and D-D supplementing the main illustration.

Key dimensional features distinguish the invention. Macroscopically, the embodiment illustrated herein is much smaller, lighter, and less costly to manufacture than available alternatives for hygienic pronation. Size and weight minimization are the result design intent and identification of where material is not necessary. Cost minimization results from reduced material usage, and particularly from a design suitable for foam molding as the manufacturing method. In the preferred embodiment shown herein, the primary material is EVA, or similar foam, with Shore C hardness between 18 and 30. As illustrated, the unrestrained invention will fit within a 26.3×14.5×5.6″ box, with approximately ⅔ of that imaginary box being empty space. Excepting FIG. 4 in-use dimensions 190, 191, 193 and 390, values given are for an unrestrained pronater, not in use. Invention dimensions are dependent upon materials and construction processes employed, and a device representing the invention formed using alternative materials will have appropriately adjusted dimensions.

Key dimensions and contouring of chest support section 10 and hip support section 30 are now described. Chest support section 10 includes trachea cutout 110, shoulder supports 111, breast cutouts 120, lower rib supports 131, upper abdomen support 130, and bulk material between these features that supports the chest. Hip support section 30 includes hip supports 301, with surface contouring that considers support, convenience, ease of placement and use, and comfort. Throughout chest and hip support sections, edge radii are at least 0.1 inches between support surfaces and side walls, to minimize irritation that may develop with extended contact.

Trachea cutout 110 is a volume devoid of material from what might have been straight connecting surfaces between shoulder supports 111. Between the forward and upward tips of shoulder supports 111, the surface sweeps inward by 0.5-1.0″, and down toward the bed by 0.5-1.0″. This multidimensional dip supports trachea comfort and head movement. Besides providing a zone where the trachea may rest unmolested, this cutout allows almost full neck and head mobility.

Each shoulder support 111 is substantially a 3 radian, 1.7″ radius sweep at the top, upper corners of FIG. 2, with edge radii >0.4″, from the trachea cutout 110, to the breast cutout 120, and blending smoothly into other features. The outwardly open breast cutouts 120 are based upon a prone, free-hanging nipple position 4.5-5.7 inches below the low point of hard tissue between the clavicles, the intraclavicular ligament. From dividing line 50 outward, the surface is sculpted in two dimensions to prevent pressure on sensitive areas, while still deriving significant support from central chest section 12. At its narrowest point, the material cutout begins about 1.5 inches from dividing line 50. Breast cutouts 120 and breast area side walls 121 reflect the complex shape of nearby sensitive areas, and the need for side access in the normal course of life.

Lower chest section 13 is where absence of breast and shoulder concerns allows the device to wrap further around the sides if the chest and thus further diffuse the user's weight for extended comfort, as captured in the lower rib supports 131. FIG. 2, View A-A, is a cutaway view which illustrates the increasing support height in the outer regions, designed to provide lift to outlying regions of the rib cage. The small raised surface in the middle of the region, dips by approximately 0.2 inches on both sides, then rises with a slightly concave profile to the outer edges of the section. View A-A also reveals the shoulder supports 111 in the background, illustrating consideration of the chest's non-uniform cross section, which grows larger near its base.

View E-E provides a cut-away view along dividing line 50, and further illustrates the complex contouring integrated into this invention. Key dimensions include those which define length, height and complex slope of the support surface along the plane defined by dividing line 50 and the bed, corresponding to the center of the user's chest. In harmony with chest support section 10, hip support section 30 provides torso elevation consistent with spinal hygiene, utilizing the anterior superior iliac spine as the primary lower torso and upper leg support. Looking also at View B-B, central chest support maximum height 196, central chest support minimum height 197, and central hip support height 393 are set by material properties, expected in-use loading, and primary in-use dimensions: sternum elevation 190 (4.2-5.2 inches), forehead elevation 191 (user controlled, nominally 1.0 inch), iliac crest elevation 390 (add 0.7 inches to elevation 190), and clavicle tip elevation 193 (add 1.3 inches to elevation 190) illustrated in FIG. 4. For solid plastic foam in the range of Shore C hardness of 15-30, and users in the 120-240 pound weight range, free standing dimensions are 0.5-2.0 inches higher than loaded dimensions. If effective firmness is non-uniform, such as by including a top layer of memory foam for extra comfort, or firmer low layers, free standing height may be affected, driven by in-use dimensions specified herein. Hip support surface section 30 often supports greater total weight per unit surface area than chest support section 10, resulting in increased foam compression, and correspondingly greater free height, assuming equivalent material properties. Central chest support length 192 is approximately 8.3 inches, to optimally utilize the chest's bony underpinnings, with the broadly rounded sidewall taper of the upper abdomen support 130 extending approximately 2 inches into the abdominal cutout 200.

Views B-B, C-C, and D-D of FIG. 2 highlight key features of hip supports 301. Diagonal rounded peaks 310 correspond to the mirrored creases between the user's torso and legs. The diagonal rounded peak 310 divides the hip support to a abdomen region 311 and a hip region 312, the abdomen region 310 and the hip region 312 sloping downward from the diagonal, rounded peak 310. A leveled plane 315 from the diagonal rounded peak 310 defines a abdomen angle 391 with the abdomen region 311. The level plain 315 defines a hip bend angle 392 with hip region 312. In use, the iliac crests rest at approximately the centers of the diagonal rounded peaks 310. View C-C illustrates contouring that allows the lower abdomen to descend toward the bed with some support, and View D-D illustrates greatly changed contouring on the opposite side of the ridge, to accommodate the needs of leg support and mobility. To support legs hygienically bent at the torso and an average body shape, abdomen angle 391 in View B-B is 10-14°, and hip bend angle 392 is 16-22° for the embodiment illustrated herein.

Between hip supports 310 is genital cutout 300. The nominal value of about four inches for iliac crest elevation 390, as detailed above, ensure adequate space. The final in-use location of the hip supports 310 is user dependent.

Ease of use, handling, and size present some conflicting configuration ideals. In its most compact form, the invention is two hip support sections 30 and a chest support section 10. Optional joiners 201, as illustrated herein, may be inserted to connect everything into a single item. The exact configuration of joiners 201 is limited by safety concerns (such as accidental strangulation); by a need to maintain a comfortable abdominal cutout 200; and by the need for joiners to allow easy placement of hip supports 301 for a wide range of body shapes. In View A-A, joiners 201 are shown with a rounded triangular cross section, but manufacturing, ease of use and style may suggest alternate designs. In addition, the joiners 201 are preferred to be thin and elongated structures, as compared to the chest support and hip supports 301.

Abdominal cutout 200 is a relaxation cavity for the rectus abdominis muscle and internal organs protected by it, allowing free diaphragm movement for breathing. Its effective depth of approximately four inches is determined by in-use sternum elevation 190, and iliac crest elevation 390, discussed above.

The distance between chest support section 10 and hip supports 301 along dividing line 50 is approximately constant for a particular user, but torso length and the distance between the iliac crests is variable among users. Joiners 201 are flexible and have enough positioning range for general usage. Unconstrained, the preferred embodiment illustrated herein includes hip supports 301 that are slightly turned inward for ease of manufacturing and use. The distance between the center of the rounded diagonal peaks 310 and the low point of trachea cutout 110, in FIG. 4, is the nominal torso length 901, 21.2 inches.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate side views of the invention, free standing, and in use by a female. The chest support section 10 and hip support section 30 hygienically hold person 888 above a flat bed 99. This elevation, combined with ergonomic contouring, may alleviate breathing difficulties, the usual points of morning pain, and manipulate gravity to mitigate physiological factors that contribute to snoring.

FIG. 4 demonstrates person 888 using torso pronater 1. The head may be resting on an integrated (shown in dashed lines) or separate pillow (not shown), or on the bed itself, while the torso is elevated. The pillow may be the simple pad shown in dashed lines, a standard massage face pillow altered for use with the invention (not shown), or a specialized pillow (not shown) that optimizes features of the invention and extends hygienic usage. The breasts are suspended within the side cutouts 120. The genital area is accessible and legs are in a relaxed position, bent slightly at the hips. The arms are illustrated spread almost fully sideways so that features can be better illustrated, but the user has great leeway in positioning their arms. The arms may rest alongside, in many positions, and bearing only their own weight. The main pressure is now on areas that are most capable of tolerating it without discomfort, such as the rib cage, sternum, oblique muscles and pelvic bones. The invention may serve as a novel device for hygienic and comfortable pronation, supplementing more traditional supine and lateral resting positions.

In summary, the invention aims to greatly improve options for comfortable pronation, with a device that supports spinal hygiene and sexual function, is adaptable to typical home and clinic uses, and is inexpensive. Today, there are no massively attractive options for hygienic pronation. Enabling popular pronation may mitigate many particular maladies, generally including:

1) wound irritation and circulation restriction to the back or side

2) obstructive sleep disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea

3) pain or medically driven inability to sleep comfortably in other positions

4) preference for the prone position, if only as a whimsical option

5) sleep deprivation

6) surgery to the head, neck or rear side of the body

Some users are unable to sleep in any except the prone position due to medical problems. These users are not well served by any known device, due especially to comfort issues. By contouring surfaces in unprecedented detail to match supporting and sensitive body structures, the invention extends the maximum period of comfortable rest.

Although this invention has been described with some particularity, it is to be understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of illustration and that numerous changes in the details of construction and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention. An example is FIG. 5, showing pronater 1 modified and in use to read a book, using shim 777.