Title:
Air-Filled Seat Cushion
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A seat cushion, including one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning including closed cell plastic film; and a cover including a top sheet and a bottom sheet joined along one or more edges to define an enclosure enclosing the one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; wherein an observer looking through the combination of the cover and the interior of the seat cushion views one or more objects located behind the seat cushion due to the degree of light transmission through the one or more layered sheets and the cover.


Inventors:
Popp, Bernard (Chicago, IL, US)
Judickas, Zackery (Hickory Hills, IL, US)
Application Number:
14/574325
Publication Date:
06/18/2015
Filing Date:
12/17/2014
Assignee:
POPP BERNARD
JUDICKAS ZACKERY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/654, 5/655.3
International Classes:
A47C7/02; A47C27/08
View Patent Images:
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Claims:
We claim:

1. A seat cushion, comprising: one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning including closed cell plastic film; and a cover including a top sheet and a bottom sheet joined along one or more edges to define an enclosure enclosing the one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; wherein an observer looking through the combination of the cover and the interior of the seat cushion views one or more objects located behind the seat cushion due to the degree of light transmission through the one or more layered sheets and the cover.

2. The seat cushion of claim 1, wherein the seat cushion cover is vinyl.

3. The seat cushion of claim 1, wherein the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined by a sidewall.

4. The seat cushion of claim 1, wherein the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined directly to each other.

5. The seat cushion of claim 4, wherein the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined to each other using radio frequency heat welding.

6. The seat cushion of claim 4, further including a handle integrally formed with the top sheet and the bottom sheet.

7. The seat cushion of claim 1, further including a decal printed on the top sheet.

8. The seat cushion of claim 1, wherein the layered sheets of sealed air cushioning include closed cell plastic film meeting one of the DS and DS-2 standards.

9. The seat cushion of claim 8, wherein the seat cushion includes three layered sheets.

10. The seat cushion of claim 8, wherein the bubble size height of the closed cell plastic film is one-half of an inch.

11. The seat cushion of claim 1, further including a handle integrally formed with the cover.

12. The seat cushion of claim 11, wherein the handle includes one or more eyelets.

13. The seat cushion of claim 1, wherein the seat cushion includes two or more layered sheets, and the layered sheets are glued together.

14. The seat cushion of claim 1, wherein the seat cushion cover includes an air hole to vent the interior of the seat cushion.

15. A seat cushion, comprising: one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; and a seat cushion cover including a top sheet and a bottom sheet joined along one or more edges to define an enclosure, the enclosure enclosing the one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; a handle integrally formed with the seat cushion cover; wherein the seat cushion cover and handle are comprised of vinyl; the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined using radio frequency heat welding; and the layered sheets of sealed air cushioning include closed cell plastic film meeting one of DS and DS-2 standards; wherein an observer looking through the combination of the cover and the interior of the seat cushion views one or more objects located behind the seat cushion due to the degree of light transmission through the one or more layered sheets and the cover.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application incorporates by reference and claims benefit to: U.S. Patent Application No. 61/917,340, filed Dec. 17, 2013; U.S. Patent Application No. 61/919,685, filed Dec. 20, 2013; and to U.S. Patent Application No. 61/982,838, filed Apr. 22, 2014.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present subject matter relates generally to a seat cushion. More specifically, the present invention relates to a translucent, chambered, air-filled seat cushion.

Portable seat cushions are supposed to provide lasting comfort in traditionally uncomfortable situations. But too often they fail on durability when the interior foam of the cushion compresses and deteriorates. And their potential to conceal dangerous weapons or agents makes them a security risk in many of the settings where they are needed most. Notably, in light of the growing concern over violent and antisocial public behavior, the National Football League's (NFL) 2013 stadium policy guidelines prohibit seat cushions unless they are see-through. Few—if any—seat cushions on the market today comply with the NFL's guidelines.

Accordingly, there is a need for a translucent seat cushion that is lightweight, durable, and long lasting, as described herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To meet the needs described above and others, the present disclosure provides an air-filled seat cushion, particularly one that may be provided as a transparent or translucent seat cushion.

By providing a suitably translucent or transparent cushion cover filled with translucent air-filled chambers, the seat cushion described herein is a lightweight and durable solution to the problems associated with traditional seat cushions. The translucency of the cushion helps to enable others to visually determine whether an object is hidden inside of it. The sealed air chambers do not deteriorate or compress like the foam found in traditional portable cushions. The air-filled interior also makes the cushion lightweight for easy portability to sporting events, camping trips, or any other event. An optional handle or grommet may allow the user to more easily carry or attach the seat cushion to other belongings, adding to its portability

In a preferred embodiment, the cushion has two main components; an outer cover and inner air-chambered cushioning. In the preferred embodiment, the outer cover may be translucent clear or colored material that allows the user and others to see through the cover and inside the cushion. The inner air-chambered cushioning may be comprised of layered sheets of bubble-like sealed air chambers. In a preferred embodiment, these sealed air chambers are consistent with military-grade air-chambered cushioning specifications.

In alternate configurations, the air chambers may have varying degrees of inflatedness, allowing the user to select a model according to desired firmness. In alternate configurations, there may be varying numbers of interior air-chamber layers, i.e., three, four, or five, that allow for different heights and comfort levels.

The air chambers may be housed in translucent material, allowing the user and others to see through the interior of the cushion. The cover may enclose the interior through a number of methods, including sewing and heat-sealing. By combining a clear cover and a clear interior, the seat cushion may be fully transparent. In alternate embodiments, portions or all of the cover may be opaque, while the interior air chambers remain translucent.

The cushion may be made entirely of recyclable plastic material. Additionally, the cost of these materials may be less than the cost to make a standard vinyl cover and foam seat cushion.

In one example, the user may bring the cushion to a sporting event, such as an NFL game. The user can easily carry the cushion due to its lightweight material, and an optional handle or grommet may allow the user to attach the cushion to a carabineer or something similar and carry it while affixed to the user's belongings. The translucence of the cushion enables security personnel at the venue to inspect the cushion completely and efficiently. When the user sits upon the cushion, the air chambers do not degrade in the same way that the foam in a traditional cushion does. Further, over time, the air chambers do not become corrupted (i.e., lose their structure) like the foam in other seat cushion models does.

In other examples, the sealed air-chamber cushioning may be used in a number of varied applications where comfort, portability, and durability are needed. One example includes furniture similar to the seat cushion, such as patio furniture cushions, pet beds, mattress tops, wheel chair pads, seating cushions on boats or airplanes (which, combined with heat-sealing may allow the cushion to double as a flotation device), picnic mats, etc. In each of these examples, the product is improved by the comfort and the cushioning the sealed air-chamber cushioning provides and the lightweight nature of the product. For instance, by replacing traditional seat cushions with sealed air-chamber cushioning, an airplane may lighten its weight and use less fuel. Additionally, in seating contexts, the sealed air-chamber cushioning may be used as both the seat and the backing, and may be inflated to varying degrees (or layered to a specific rigidity) to provide optimum lumbar or neck support.

In yet another example, the sealed air-chamber cushioning may used as protective padding, for example in athletic situations. These uses include body and head padding and protection, gymnastics mats, padding for gymnasium walls, yoga mats, fatigue mats (i.e., mats for workers to stand on), gardening pads for kneeling, etc. Again, the cushioning provides a solution that is unmatched in performance, comfort, and weight. Further, the air cushion may be adapted to be used as an air-floatation device.

In an embodiment, a seat cushion includes: one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning including closed cell plastic film; and a cover including a top sheet and a bottom sheet joined along one or more edges to define an enclosure enclosing the one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; wherein an observer looking through the combination of the cover and the interior of the seat cushion views one or more objects located behind the seat cushion due to the degree of light transmission through the one or more layered sheets and the cover.

In some embodiments, the seat cushion cover is vinyl. And, in some embodiments, the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined by a sidewall. Additionally, in some embodiments, the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined directly to each other. For example, in some embodiments, the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined to each other using radio frequency heat welding.

In some embodiments, the seat cushion includes a handle integrally formed with the top sheet and the bottom sheet. And, in some embodiments, the seat cushion includes a decal printed on the top sheet. Also, in some embodiments, the layered sheets of sealed air cushioning include closed cell plastic film meeting one of the DS and DS-2 standards.

Further, in some embodiments, the seat cushion includes three layered sheets. Even further, in some embodiments, the bubble size height of the closed cell plastic film is one-half of an inch.

In some embodiments, the seat cushion includes a handle integrally formed with the cover. Additionally, in some embodiments, the handle includes one or more eyelets.

Further, in some embodiments, the seat cushion includes two or more layered sheets, and the layered sheets are glued together. Even further, in some embodiments, the seat cushion cover includes an air hole to vent the interior of the seat cushion.

In an embodiment, a seat cushion includes: one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; and a seat cushion cover including a top sheet and a bottom sheet joined along one or more edges to define an enclosure, the enclosure enclosing the one or more layered sheets of sealed air cushioning; a handle integrally formed with the seat cushion cover; wherein the seat cushion cover and handle are comprised of vinyl; the top sheet and a bottom sheet are joined using radio frequency heat welding; and the layered sheets of sealed air cushioning include closed cell plastic film meeting one of DS and DS-2 standards; wherein an observer looking through the combination of the cover and the interior of the seat cushion views one or more objects located behind the seat cushion due to the degree of light transmission through the one or more layered sheets and the cover.

An object of the invention is to provide a solution to seat cushions that can ensure the seat cushion is not being used for any dangerous purposes or housing dangerous items.

Another object of the invention is to provide a solution to seat cushions that is durable and long-lasting.

An advantage of the invention is that it is lightweight and may attach easily the user's other belongings.

Another advantage of the invention is that it complies with the NFL's stadium policy.

A further advantage of the invention is may be inexpensively made.

Yet another advantage of the invention is that it is easily recyclable.

Another advantage of the invention is that security personnel may visually examine it easily.

Still further, it is an advantage of the invention to provide a seat cushion that retains a user's body heat and further acts to insulate the user from the seat below the cushion.

Additional objects, advantages and novel features of the examples will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following description and the accompanying drawings or may be learned by production or operation of the examples. The objects and advantages of the concepts may be realized and attained by means of the methodologies, instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawing figures depict one or more implementations in accord with the present concepts, by way of example only, not by way of limitations. In the figures, like reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements.

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view showing an example of a cushion including a printed decal.

FIG. 2A is a front view of an example of a cushion.

FIG. 2B is a side view of the cushion of FIG. 2A illustrating the tapered edges and air holes of the vinyl cover.

FIG. 3A is a front cutaway view of the cushion of FIG. 2A illustrating the interior layers of cushioning.

FIG. 3B is a cross-section view of the cushion of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 3C is a cross-section view of a layer of two-layer closed cell plastic film cushioning.

FIG. 3D is a cross-section view of a layer of three-layer closed cell plastic film cushioning.

FIG. 4 is a front view of an example cushion including a pocket.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an example of a cushion including a sidewall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is perspective views of a translucent seat cushion 10. By using a translucent seat cushion 10 instead of a previously available stadium cushions, security personnel at sports and entertainment venues may visually inspect the contents of the seat cushion 10 for contraband. Accordingly, sports venues would not have to place x-ray machines at each entrance to scan seat cushions 10 for contraband, thus preventing costs from being passed on to fans and slowing the process of fans entering the stadium.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the seat cushion 10 has two main components: an outer cover 20 and inner air-chambered cushioning 30. Both the cover 20 and the cushioning 30 may be constructed of translucent materials. In an embodiment, the seat cushion 10 may be limited to dimensions that do not exceed twelve inches by six inches by twelve inches to conform to safety regulations, such as the NFL bags policy. However, in a preferred embodiment, the seat cushion 10 has dimensions of fourteen and a half inches square (not including any handle 50) with a one and a half inch thickness. In some embodiments, the outer cover 20 may further include a printed decal 40. Additionally, the example seat cushion 10 shown in FIG. 1 includes an optional handle 50 to permit a user to hold the seat cushion 10. The handle 50 itself may include grommets or eyelets 60. Alternatively, grommets or eyelets 60 may be provided elsewhere on the outer cover 20.

The cover 20 may include translucent clear or colored material that allows the user and others to see through the cover 20 and the interior of the seat cushion 10. As shown in FIG. 2A, in a preferred embodiment, the cover 20 and cushioning 30 may be sufficiently translucent as to permit a user to identify a hand viewed through the seat cushion 10. The cover 20 may be clear plastic, vinyl, PVC or other transparent protective material, as will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art from the examples provided herein.

FIG. 2B is a side view of the example seat cushion 10 of FIG. 2A. As shown in

FIG. 2A, the cover 20 may include a top vinyl sheet 120 and bottom vinyl sheet 130 that are joined along the perimeter of the seat cushion 10. The cover 20 may include tapered edges 80 along its perimeter. Tapered edges 80 may be included to prevent bunching of the vinyl top vinyl sheet 120 and bottom vinyl sheet 130 due to the lack of support of the cushioning 30 at the edge of the layered sheets 100 of closed cell plastic film 110 (FIG. 3A). The closed cells 150 (FIG. 3B) of the cushioning 30 may be deflated along the edges where the closed cell plastic film 110 is cut to fit the dimensions of the seat cushion 10.

Additionally, tapered edges 80 provide a more attractive appearance. In some embodiments, the cover 20 may include air holes 70 to permit the seat cushion 10 to “give” a bit and to “breathe” under the weight and movement of a user.

In a preferred embodiment, the cover 20 is made of translucent twenty gauge vinyl with “2.5 S” softness. The cover 20 may be formed by radio-frequency heat welding together a top vinyl sheet 120 and bottom vinyl sheet 130 around the cushioning 30. In some embodiments, as shown and described with respect to FIG. 5, the top vinyl sheet 120 and bottom vinyl sheet 130 may be joined by a sidewall 310. In some embodiments, at least one of the top vinyl sheet 120 and the bottom vinyl sheet 130 may be opaque. Additionally, in some embodiments, portions of the top vinyl sheet 120 or the bottom vinyl sheet 130 may be opaque, for example, when a printed decal 40 is included on the seat cushion 10. It is contemplated that various portions of the seat cushion 10 may be opaque while still preserving the overall capacity to inspect the contents of the seat cushion 10 in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure.

As shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the inner air-chambered cushioning 30 may be comprised of layered sheets 100 of cushioning 30. In a preferred embodiment, the layered sheets 100 of cushioning 30 are sheets of bubble-like sealed air chambers that are consistent with military-grade closed cell plastic film specifications. Closed cell plastic film 110 is generally used as a cushioning material for packing and shipping items. More information about these standards and materials may be found in Federal Specification PPP-C-795D, FEDERAL SPECIFICATION: CUSHIONING MATERIAL, PACKAGING (FLEXIBLE CLOSED CELL PLASTIC FILM, FOR LONG DISTRIBUTION CYCLES) (13 JUN 1994), the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference. In a preferred embodiment, the closed cell plastic film 110 meets the DS-4 standard. In other embodiments, the closed cell plastic film 110 may meet one of the DS and DS-2 standards.

As noted, the cushioning 30 may include one or more layered sheets 100 of closed cell plastic film 110. Closed cell plastic film 110 is a form of air-chambered cushioning that is well-known for being sold under the Bubble Wrap® brand. Closed cell plastic film 110 may be constructed from a composite of two or more layers of plastic film and is generally commercially available in the form of rolls or sheets. Closed cell plastic film 110 is most often formed from polyethylene, but may be made from other plastics, such as bioplastics, polyethylene terephthalate, etc.

Closed cell plastic film 110 may be provided in multiple forms. For example, in a two-sheet form shown in FIG. 3C, a sheet of closed cell plastic film 110 has a flat face 160 and a closed cell face 170 with a lattice of closed cells 150. Alternatively, in a three-layer form shown in FIG. 3D, sometimes known as 3rd web, closed cell plastic film 110 sheets may include two flat exterior surfaces with an interior bubble layers. In a preferred embodiment, the closed cell plastic film 110 may include a barrier layer 190 in the closed cell plastic film 110 to increase air retention under heavy loads. Closed cell plastic film 110 may be commercially provided in forms with varying bubble size height 180.

The properties of the cushioning 30, such as number of layered sheets 100, bubble size height 180, gluing of the layered sheets, firmness, material composition, weight, layer interleaving, etc., may be chosen to optimize the overall translucency, strength, comfort, etc., of the seat cushion 10.

For example, closed cell plastic film 110 of the two-sheet form may be interleaved to increase the density of closed cells 150 in the seat cushion 10. Interleaving may be accomplished by placing the closed cell faces 170 of pairs of layered sheets 100 in opposition such that the closed cells 150 of one layered sheet 100 at least partially fills the voids between the closed cells 150 of the other layered sheets 100. The cushioning 30 may then be constructed from layers of pairs of interleaved layered sheets 100. Further, as shown in FIG. 3B, the outer layered sheets 100 of the cushioning 30 may present the flat face 160 outwards to create a comfortable, flat exterior.

As another example, the compressive strength of the seat cushion 10 may be adapted to provide durability and comfortable support for a majority of users. Insufficient compressive strength may result in the rupturing of individual closed cells 150 during use. Additionally, insufficient compressive strength may cause the seat cushion 10 to “bottom out” or “feel through,” that is, to compress to the point where the seat cushion 10 no longer holds up a user. For example, the compressive strength may be chosen to be sufficient support users up to the 90th percentile of adult user body weight, up to the 95th percentile of user body weight, or up to the 99th percentile of user body weight.

Compressive strength may be determined, in part, by the choice of bubble size height 180 of the air-chambered cushioning. To provide varied compressive strengths, the bubble size height 180 of the closed cell plastic film 110 may comprising an average height of at least one-eight of an inch, three-sixteenths of an inch, five-sixteenths of an inch, or one half an inch. The cushioning 30 may be constructed from multiple layered sheets 100 of the same bubble size height 180 or of different bubble size heights 180. For example, the cushioning 30 may be constructed from multiple layered sheets 100 comprising a bubble size height 180 of one half inch. Alternatively, the cushioning 30 may be constructed from multiple layered sheets 100 comprising a bubble size height 180 of one of one-eight of an inch, three-sixteenths of an inch, five-sixteenths of an inch, or one half an inch. In other embodiments, further bubble size heights 180 may be included in the cushioning 30 as will be appreciated by those of skill in the art from the examples provided. In alternate configurations, the air chambers of the air-chambered cushioning may have varying degrees of inflatedness, allowing a provider to provide users the opportunity to select a model according to desired firmness. In alternate configurations, there may be varying numbers of layered sheets 100, i.e., three, four, or five, that allow for different seat cushion heights and comfort levels.

Likewise, the number of layered sheets 100 of the cushioning 30 may be adapted to provide different seat cushion heights, and enhance durability and comfortable support for a majority of users. The number of layered sheets 100 may be determined based on the bubble size height 180 of the closed cell plastic film 110, the dimensions of the seat cushion 10, the use of interleaving, etc. In varied examples, the number of layered sheets 100 may be a single layer, two layers, three layers, four layers, five layers, six layers, seven layers, eight layers, nine layers, ten layers, eleven layers, twelve layers, thirteen layers, fourteen layers, etc. In a preferred embodiment, a seat cushion 10 having three layers of air-chambered cushioning with bubble size height 180 of one half of an inch was found to a preferable balance of comfort, thickness, durability, and cost.

The layered sheets 100 may be glued together to reduce slippage between the various layers of the layered sheets 100 under sheer forces. The glue applied to the layered sheets 100 may be chosen for translucency, for example, possible glues may include acrylics, polystyrenes, vinyl adhesive, etc. Alternatively, the layered sheets 100 may be fused, for example, layers may be fused using solvents or heat fusion.

FIG. 4 is a front view of an example cushion including a pocket 210 for permitting the user to store objects 220. The pocket 210 may be integrally formed as a part of the cover 20. The pocket 210 may comprise the same translucent vinyl material described with respect to the top vinyl sheet 120 and the bottom vinyl sheet 130. Likewise, the pocket 210 may be radio-frequency heat welded to the top vinyl sheet 120 or the bottom vinyl sheet 130 along the same weld joining the top vinyl sheet 120 and the bottom vinyl sheet 130. In an embodiment, the objects 220 in the pocket 210 may be easily inspected visually.

FIG. 5 illustrates an example of a seat cushion 10 including a sidewall 310. As shown, the top vinyl sheet 120 and the bottom vinyl sheet 130 are joined by the sidewall 310. In an embodiment, the sidewall 310 may be comprised of the same translucent material as the top vinyl sheet 120 and the bottom vinyl sheet 130. However, in other embodiments, the sidewall 310 may be comprised of opaque materials to reduce cost, to vary aesthetics, etc. It is understood that an opaque sidewall 310 may be used without interfering with the user's ability to see through the seat cushion 10.

As used herein, translucent is defined to include a material property in which a material permits light to pass through but does not necessarily permit all light to pass through. Accordingly, translucent materials may include materials that diffuse light that passes through, alter the tint or color of the light that passes through, attenuate the light that passes through, etc. It is contemplated that in some embodiments, the translucency required may be the minimal amount of light transmission necessary for an average person to make a visual inspection of the seat cushion for the presence of contraband. It is contemplated that in some embodiments, the materials of the seat cushion may meet minimal standards of translucency.

It is contemplated that the seat cushion 10 may include opaque portions, such as caused by the presence of decals 40, an opaque top vinyl sheet 120 or bottom vinyl sheet 130, etc., but still provide sufficient translucency to permit the inspection of the seat cushion 10 for the presence of contraband. The amount of opaque portions of the seat cushion 10 may be measured as a coverage percentage that numerically measures the amount of the surface of the seat cushion covered by opaque portions. Thus, 0% coverage represents a seat cushion with no opaque portions of the surface or cover 20 of the seat cushion 10, and 100% coverage represents a fully opaque seat cushion 10.

It is understood that different ranges of coverage and light transmission may be present in different embodiments and consistent with objective of permitting the inspection of the seat cushion 10 for the presence of contraband. For example, if the seat cushion 10 has an opaque decal 40 on the top vinyl sheet 120, the seat cushion 10 may nevertheless be fully inspectable by viewing the interior of the seat cushion 10 via the translucent bottom vinyl sheet 130. Conversely, in some embodiments, if seat cushion 10 has a low level of light transmission through translucent portions, then no amount of opaque portions may be included without creating areas of the seat cushion 10 that are not inspectable. Accordingly, it is understood that the light transmission of the translucent portions and the percentage of coverage by opaque portions may be traded off within a range that sets the percentage of opaque coverage based on the light transmission of the translucent portions. Examples defining the ends of the range may be: (1) 15% light transmission and 0% coverage; and (2) 100% light transmission and 90% coverage. For any given coverage percentage, the light transmission may be higher than the minimum required, but may not be lower.

It should be noted that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages.