Title:
Maternity wear with sound generating capabilities
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An article of clothing including a sound generating device is disclosed. The maternity wear includes a front panel for covering a user's womb, and the sound generating device includes at least one speaker associated with the front panel, whereby when worn sound is directed at the user's womb. In one embodiment, the wear comprises a vest having a front and back panel, an opening between the front and back panels through which the user may extend their head, a pair of open sides defined by opposing edges of the front and back panels, at least one member for connecting the open sides, and at least one sound generating element associated with the front panel.



Inventors:
Pascal, Patricia (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
09/773328
Publication Date:
08/01/2002
Filing Date:
02/01/2001
Assignee:
PASCAL PATRICIA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/00; A41D1/20; (IPC1-7): A41D1/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
R. Scott Weide (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An article of clothing for wearing by a user, said article of clothing including at least a front panel for covering a portion of the user's womb and a sound generating device associated with said front panel, said sound-generating device comprising at least one speaker adapted to direct sound to said user's womb.

2. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 1, wherein said sound-generating device includes a controller, said controller having at least one input and at least one output to said at least one speaker.

3. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 2, wherein said input comprises a port for accepting a signal representative of sound from another device.

4. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 2, wherein said output comprises a port for transmitting a signal representative of sound to an external device.

5. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 4, wherein said external device comprises headphones.

6. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 2, wherein said controller has a plurality of outputs and at least one selector for selecting which outputs transmit a signal representative of sound.

7. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 1, wherein said at least one speaker is oriented to direct sound inwardly toward the womb of the user.

8. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 1, wherein said one or more speakers are positioned between a cover panel and said front panel.

9. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 1, wherein said article of clothing includes means for securing said article to the user.

10. An article of clothing with sound generating capabilities comprising: a vest having a front panel and back panel, at least one opening between said front and back panels through which a head of a user may be extended, a pair of open sides defined by opposing edges of said front and back panels; at least one member for connecting said front and back panels along said open side; and at least one sound generating element associated with said front panel.

11. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 10, wherein said front and back panels have an inside surface and outside surface.

12. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 10, wherein said sound generating element comprising at least one speaker associated with said inside surface of said front panel such that sound is emitted towards said user.

13. The article of clothing is accordance with claim 10, wherein said sound generating element comprises a controller is associated with said front panel.

14. The article of clothing in accordance with claim 10, wherein said sound generating element comprises at least one said speaker and wherein said controller haves at least one input for accepting a sound signal and at least one output to at least one said speaker.

15. The article of clothing in claim 14, wherein a plurality of speakers are associated with said front panel and arranged to direct sound to a womb of a wearer.

16. The article of clothing in claim 10, wherein at least one pocket is associated with said front panel.

17. The article of clothing in claim 10, wherein at least one member comprises a strap.

18. The article of clothing in claim 10, wherein an image is associated with said cover panel.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to articles of clothing, and more particularly, articles of clothing including sound generating devices.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is now commonly acknowledged that babies are influenced by their pre-birth environments. Certain types of stimulation have been linked to beneficial development of fetuses. One type of fetal stimulation which has been found beneficial is exposure to certain external audio sensations. For this reason, people may talk, read, sing, and play music to their unborn children. But it is not always practical or possible for people to engage in such activities. For example, the father or others can only engage in such activities when in close proximity to the mother. Mothers also cannot constantly speak, read or sing to their unborn children. There are other events that take place in a day, such as work, telephone calls, errands and chores that make engaging in such communications impractical if not impossible.

[0003] Many mothers like to expose their unborn children to classical music, such as that played over a stereo system or car radio. This requires that the mother remain in close proximity to the stereo or radio. As stated above, there are many reasons why this is difficult. For example, the mother may need to leave the room to perform certain chores, or may be at work or another location where it is not permissible to play a stereo.

[0004] It is desirable to provide an improved means for exposing an unborn child to beneficial external stimulation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In accordance with the present invention, there is provided an article of clothing with sound generating capabilities.

[0006] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise a maternity wear for generating and directing sound to the user's womb. In one embodiment, the maternity wear comprises a vest which includes a front panel that covers a portion of the user's womb when worn, and a sound generating device that includes at least one speaker that is associated with the front panel.

[0007] In a preferred embodiment, the sound generating device includes a controller having at least one input and having at least one output to the one or more speakers. Preferably, the input comprises a port that accepts data representative of sound from another device, In one embodiment, the controller also includes an output comprising a port for transmitting data representative of sound to another device, such as headphones. In one or more embodiments, the controller has a selector for selecting the arrangement of the connections between the inputs and outputs. In accordance with a preferred embodiment, one or more of the speakers are oriented inwardly towards the user's womb.

[0008] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise a vest having a front and a back panel, an opening between the panels through which the user may extend their head, and a pair of open sides defined by the opposing edges of the front and back panel. In addition, the vest includes at least one member for connecting the front and back panels along the open sides and at least one sound generating element associated with the front panel.

[0009] In a preferred embodiment, the front and back panels have an inside and outside surface. Preferably, the sound generating element comprising one or more speakers are positioned between the outside surface of the front panel and a cover panel. Also in accordance with the preferred embodiment, the controller is attached to the outside surface of the front panel.

[0010] Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will become apparent from the detailed description of the drawings which follows, when considered with the attached figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the maternity wear with sound generating capabilities in accordance with one embodiment of the invention as worn by user;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of a sound generating apparatus of the present invention for use with a maternity wear as illustrated in FIG. 1; and

[0013] FIG. 3 is a side view of the maternity wear illustrated in FIG. 1 as worn by a wearer, the maternity wear shown in a partially exploded view.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The invention is an article of clothing having a sound generating apparatus. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

[0015] In general, one or more embodiments of the invention comprise a maternity wear with sound generating capabilities. As used herein, and as described below, the term “wear” may include a wide variety of clothing garments or other elements which may be worn by a, human.

[0016] Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a maternity wear with sound generating capabilities 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In one embodiment, the maternity wear 20 is a vest 22 including a sound generating apparatus 24.

[0017] In a preferred embodiment, the vest 22 comprises a first, front panel member 26 and a second, back or rear panel member 28. Preferably, the panel members 26,28 each have an inside surface 30 and an outside surface 32. In one or more embodiments, an opening/aperture 34 is provided between the panels 26,28. As disclosed below, the opening 34 permits passage of the head of a user 36 through the vest 22. In a preferred embodiment, the vest 22 is an unitary element. In such an embodiment, the front and back panels 26,28 comprise portions of the vest 22 and are generally defined by their location when worn. In another embodiment, the front and back panel members 26,28 may be individual members which are connected or connectable.

[0018] When worn by the user 36, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the vest 22 preferably has open sides 38 defined between sides or edges of the front panel member 26 and the rear panel member 28. In a preferred embodiment, the front and back panel members 26,28 are selectively connectable at the location of the sides 38 with at least one strap 40. In one embodiment, each strap 40 and the front and/or back panel members 26,28 includes mating hook and loop or similar material. These straps 40 allow the user 36 to maintain the vest 22 in position on themselves, and control the size of the vest 22.

[0019] As illustrated, the straps 40 are preferably located towards a bottom end of the front and back panels 26,28 when worn (e.g. located along the panels some distance from their connection). The straps 40 permit the user 36 to secure the front panel 26 and the back panel 28 to one another, limiting their relative movement. The hook and loop connection permits the user to adjust the location of each strap 40, and thus the distance between the front and rear panel members 26,28. This adjustment of size permits a wide-variety of different sized users 36 and differing users 36 to wear the vest 22. In addition, the vest 22 may be worn by the user 36 as the size of the wearer changes. This makes it possible for the maternity wear 20 to be worn for the entire term of a pregnancy.

[0020] It is contemplated that other means may be provided for selectively connecting the front and back panel members 26,28 such as, straps with attached snaps, straps with attached buttons, metal hooks, ties/ribbons. Preferably, these other means for connection also permit the user 36 to change the distance between the front and back panel members 26,28. For example, straps 40 may be provided with adjustment members or multiple snaps or other means located to provide such adjustment. One end of such steps or other members may be permanently connected to the vest 22 (such as by sewing) to prevent its separation form the vest.

[0021] The vest 22 preferably is constructed of a durable and lightweight cloth, nylon or other synthetic material that is machine washable. The vest 22 may also be constructed of a waterproof material. The vest 22 may be a variety of different colors including but not limited to, solid primary colors and pastels, glow-in-the dark, safety orange and printed fabrics.

[0022] The vest 22 may have a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, the vest 22 may be constructed in several sizes such as small, medium and large, for use with appropriately sized wearers. As illustrated, the front and back panels 26,28 are generally rectangular in shape. It will be appreciated that the front and back panels 26,28 may have other shapes, such as trapezoidal, oval or the like. In general, it is desired that the front panel 26 of the vest 22, when worn, cover at least a portion of the womb of the wearer, for reasons which will become more apparent below.

[0023] Preferably, the vest 22 includes or is adapted to receive or be associated with, a sound generating apparatus 24. Referring to FIG. 2, in one embodiment the sound generating apparatus 24 includes a controller 42. In one or more embodiments the controller 42 contains one or more inputs 44 for receiving a signal, such as digital data or an analog signal, representative of sound. In one or more embodiments, the one or more inputs comprise a port for accepting a plug of a data transfer data cable/cord associated with the output of a media player 46. The media player 46 may comprise a variety of devices including AM/FM radio, cassette player, MP3 player or a compact disk (CD) player or other means for providing a signal representing reproducible sound.

[0024] In one or more embodiments, the sound generating apparatus 24 includes at least one speaker 48 for generating sound. Preferably the speakers 48 are of a small size, such as 0.1 inch or smaller in dimension, and are preferably relatively thin. As described below, smaller speakers 48 are desirable since they maintain the lightweight and uncumbersome nature of the vest 22. The speakers 48 may be of a variety of types. For instance, the speakers 48 may be constructed of a wide variety of materials, such as ceramic and the like, as is well known. The speakers 48 may be of the diaphragm, horn or other type. The speakers 48 may be contained in a housing or other protective structure.

[0025] The speakers 48 are preferably connected to a output of the controller 42. As described below, in response to an input signal, the speakers 48 are arranged to generate sounds.

[0026] In a preferred embodiment the controller 42 has at least one output port 45 in addition to the output to the one or more speakers 48. In one embodiment, the output port 45 is arranged to accept a plug. In a preferred embodiment the plug is associated with headphones 49, an ear piece of other external sound generating devices which may be worn by the user 36. The headphones 49 allow the user 36 to use the media player 46 as described in further detail below.

[0027] In one embodiment, the controller 42 preferably has a three (3) position selector 50. In a preferred embodiment, the selector 50 permits selection from a variety of positions represented in FIG. 1 by the letters R, L and C. In one embodiment, if the selector 50 is placed in position R, only the speakers 48 are arranged to generate sound. In position L, sound is generated by only the device which is plugged into the output port 45, for instance the headphones 49. In position C, sound is generated by both the speakers 48 and the device plugged into the output port 45.

[0028] In the above-described embodiments, the controller 42 generally comprises a switch having inputs and outputs, and wherein the position of the controller 42 determines the arrangement of connections between the inputs and outputs. For example, in position R, the controller 42 completes a sound signal pathway or connection only between the input and the speakers 48. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the controller 42 may be arranged in a variety of manners to accomplish this task. As illustrated, the controller 42 includes a sliding contact-type switch for forming the desired connections. Of course, the controller 42 could take on a variety of other forms, such as including push-button contact connections and the like. The controller 42 could also be provided with a wide variety of other inputs and outputs, whether arranged as ports or otherwise.

[0029] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the sound signal which is input to the controller 42 is an amplified sound signal which drives the speakers 48 for if another sound generating device is connected, such as the headphones 49, then those as well). In this arrangement, the common amplified signal from a CD player or other device as described above is input to the controller 42.

[0030] In another embodiment of the invention, the controller 42 may include an amplifier and other sound-signal manipulating device. In this arrangement, the input signal to the controller 42 may comprise an unamplified signal, such as a digital signal. The controller 42 then transforms, if necessary and amplifies the signal for driving the speakers 48.

[0031] As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, in one embodiment, the controller 42 is associated with the front panel 26 of the vest 22. In one embodiment the controller 42 is attached to the outside surface 32 of the front panel member 26. This location is desirable since it is the most accessible to the user 36 of the controller 42. Of course, the controller 42 may be located at other positions in the vest 2, such as behind the front panel member 26 so that it is hidden from view.

[0032] As also illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the speakers 48 are also preferably attached to the front panel 26 of the vest 22. In a preferred embodiment, the speakers 48 are positioned between the outside surface 32 of the front panel member 26 and a cover panel 54. In the preferred embodiment, the speakers 48 are oriented so that they direct sound inwardly toward the womb of the user 36, e.g. a horn or diaphragm portion faces towards the back panel 28. As described in more detail below, this configuration of the speakers 48 efficiently directs or emits sound directly toward the womb of the user 36.

[0033] In one embodiment, a plurality of speakers 48 are provided. As illustrated, five speakers 48 are spaced apart from one another. Preferably, one or more of the speakers 48 are associated with that portion of the vest 22 which, when worn, is close to the wearer's womb (i.e. the stomach area or area between the chest and waist of user/wearer). In the illustrated embodiment, this location is near a lower portion of the front panel member 26. Of course, if the front panel member 26 or other article comprising the vest 22 is shaped or sized differently, the relative position of the speakers 48 may be different in order to maintain the desired relationship with the wearer.

[0034] In one or more embodiments, there may be as few as one speaker 48. There may also be a plurality of speakers 48 other than five, such as a pair, or six or more. In one embodiment, one or more wires extends from the controller 42 to each speaker 48 for transmission of the sound signal to the speaker.

[0035] As described, the speakers 48 are preferably located beneath a cover panel 54. Among other things, the cover panel 54 prevents the backs of the speakers 48 from being viewed thereby making the vest 22 more aesthetically pleasing to look at, and protects the speakers 48. In one embodiment, the cover panel 54 comprises a separate element from the vest 22, and is attached thereto. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the cover panel 54 is attached to the outside layer 32 of the front panel 26. The cover panel 54 is preferably large enough to cover all of the speakers 48.

[0036] The cover panel 54 may comprise a variety of elements. In one embodiment, the cover panel 54 comprises a fabric element. As illustrated, the cover panel 54 may have a design or image printed thereon or woven into it. The designs may vary, and comprise text and pictures relating to babies, maternity, astrology and the like.

[0037] In one embodiment, the cover panel 54 is sewn or otherwise securely attached to the front panel member 26. Of course, the cover panel 54 may be removable. In addition, the cover panel 54 may encompass the entire vest 22. Further, the cover panel 54 may serve as a pocket. In one embodiment, the cover panel 54 may comprise a layer of the vest 22. For example, the front panel member 26 of the vest 22 may have a multiple-layer construction, with the speakers 48 and/or other elements associated with the sound generating aspect of the vest 22 positioned between the layers.

[0038] In a preferred embodiment, the front panel 26 has one or more pockets 52 associated therewith. These pockets 52 may be defined between layers comprising the cover panel 54, or comprise one or more other elements connected to an outside surface of the cover panel 54 and cooperating therewith to define a pocket. These pockets 52 may be used for a variety of purposes including the storage of keys, identification, and money. In one or more embodiments, the pockets 52 are sealable by a variety of means including snaps, buttons, and/or hook and loop material.

[0039] Use of the maternity device 20 will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 1-3. The maternity wear 20 is worn by a user 36. This is preferably done by the user 36 first placing their head through the opening/aperture 34 that is provided in the vest 22 between the panels 26,28. When worn, the speakers 48 should be positioned near the womb of the wearer. The user 36 may then connect the front and back panel member 26,28 by fastening the straps 40. Of course, since the sides 38 are selectively connectable, the user 36 may opt to keep the panels 26,28 unattached along the open sides. Connecting the panel members 26,28 ensures that the speakers 48 are maintained in close proximal relationship with the womb of the wearer.

[0040] When the maternity wear 20 is being worn by the user 36, the user 36 may connect the output of the medium player 46 to one of the input ports located of the controller 42. The user 36 may select the particular output desired by moving the selector 50 among the various control positions. In the embodiment illustrated and described above, the user may elect to have the speakers 48 emit sound, have the headphones 49 or other external device emit sound, or have both the speakers 48 and headphones 49 emit sound, as desired. When the user 36 elects to have the speakers 48 emit sound, the speakers 48 generate sound and emit it in the direction of the user's 36 womb.

[0041] The maternity wear 20 with sound generating capabilities has numerous benefits. First as illustrated in FIG. 1, the sound generating apparatus 24 is particularly adapted to directing sound to the womb of the user 36. The configuration of the present invention allows the user to choose the particular music or other sounds which they wish to be emitted directly at the womb. Because the sound is directed at the womb, the sound does not travel greatly away from the suer and thus does not interfere with person around the suer or activities which the suer is engaged in.

[0042] Further, the maternity wear 20 is particularly suited to directing sound to a pregnant wearer. First, the maternity wear 20 is comfortable and adjustable. The vest 22 may be worn over existing clothes and is easily put on and taken off. The vest 22 is self-contained, with the necessary sound generating apparatus associated with the vest. The vest 22 is adaptable to a wearer throughout their pregnancy, being adjustable to accommodate changes in size. The vest 22 is also adaptable for wearing by differing sized wearers.

[0043] The open configuration of the vest 22 makes the maternity wear 20 easy to put on and take off since the sides 38 are easily separable. The flexible and lightweight nature of the vest 22 does not restrict movement, thus allowing the user 36 to engage in a wide variety of activities while wearing the vest 22.

[0044] The configuration of the sound apparatus 24 allows the user 36 to specifically choose the sounds that are emitted to the womb. The user 36 is thereby not restricted by location. The sounds can be generated at anytime and anywhere without hindering the user's 36 activities.

[0045] The controller 42 permits the user 36 to also listen to the music or other sounds, such as through the headphones 49. It is additionally noted that because the vest 22 can be tightened, the front panel member 26 can be brought into close proximity with the user's womb and maintained there. This ensures that the sound which is generated by the speakers 48 is most efficiently directed to the womb.

[0046] In one or more embodiments of the invention, the maternity wear 20 can have a form other than the vest 22 as described. In one embodiment the maternity wear 20 may be a shirt having front and back panels 26,28, an opening/aperture 34 for the head of the user 36 and closed sides 38. The shirt may have long or short sleeves. In another embodiment the maternity wear 20 may be a sweatshirt having front and back panels 26, 28, and opening 34 for the head of the user 36. The sweatshirt may have a hood. In addition, the sweatshirt may contain one long, tubular front pocket 52 attached to the outside surface 32 of the front panel 26. In another embodiment the maternity wear 20 only has a front panel 26 and means for attaching the panel 26 to the wearer. Such means may comprise, straps provided which tie around the user's 36 waist, neck or both. The maternity wear 20 could also comprise a panel element which supports the apeaker(s) 48 and which can be secured to the user.

[0047] In one embodiment, the controller 42 may have a volume control, allowing the user 36 to control the volume of the generated sound being emitted. This furthers the ability of the user 36 to conduct day to day activities without interference.

[0048] In one embodiment the controller may have a plurality of inputs 44 for receiving more than one medium player 46. In one embodiment the controller 42 may be provided with a selector 50 permitting both the selection of the input 44 and or the routing of specific inputs 44 to the specific outputs 45. This allows for the user 36 and the womb to be hearing different sounds at the same time. In one embodiment, the controller 42 may simply comprise an adapter including a single input 44 and having an output 45 directed only to the speakers 48.

[0049] In one embodiment, the controller 42 itself may be adapted to generate a sound signal. For example, the controller 42 may contain a chip containing pre-recorded sounds. The controller 42 may also include an AM/FM radio, CD player or the like. In such event, the controller 42 may or may not include an input 44 for connection of an external device.

[0050] In another embodiment, the maternity wear 20 may have pockets 52 in a variety of locations. For instance, there may be pockets attached to the inside surface 30 of the front panel member 26. In another instance, the pocket 52 may be large enough to hold the medium player 52. In one embodiment the pocket 52 may be located on the side of the maternity wear 20.

[0051] It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method therefrom are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.