Title:
Foot spa with remote control features
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foot spa and a method for controlling the foot spa is provided. The foot spa has a housing defining a reservoir for locating feet, a remote control unit for controlling a function of the foot spa by transmitting a control signal to the foot spa via wireless communication, and a receiver located in or on the housing for receiving the control signal.



Inventors:
Leung, Anthony Kit Lun (Hong Kong, CN)
Tse, Chung Shun (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
10/043871
Publication Date:
07/10/2003
Filing Date:
01/10/2002
Assignee:
CONAIR CIP, INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/022; A61H35/00; (IPC1-7): A47K3/022
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060090257Drain surrounding structure protective cosmetic coverMay, 2006Geller
20030208842Shower cubicleNovember, 2003Laws
20090126100Systems and Methods for Bathtub HeatingMay, 2009Kenoyer et al.
20100005581WASTE OUTLETJanuary, 2010Mcalpine
20070240257Television lift device for a spa or other indoor or outdoor applicationsOctober, 2007Ignarra et al.
20070294812EXPANDABLE TOILET SEATDecember, 2007Coles et al.
20090070924Multifunctional odour-free, water-saving, clog-free, environmentally friendly toiletMarch, 2009Montgomery
20060248639Bidet and method of using the sameNovember, 2006Mengistu
20090260658TOILET BOWL CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHODSOctober, 2009Miyagi et al.
20070214556SLOW CLOSURE MECHANISM FOR TOILET COVERSSeptember, 2007Osman ER.
20070169262Flow control assembly for a shower headJuly, 2007Mcdonald



Primary Examiner:
WIEKER, AMANDA F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles N.J. Ruggiero, Esq. (Stamford, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A foot spa comprising: a housing defining a reservoir for locating feet; a receiver located in or on the housing for receiving a control signal; and a remote control unit for controlling a function of the foot spa by transmitting the control signal to the foot spa via wireless communication.

2. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the function is selected from a group consisting of vibration, bubble, and water-jet.

3. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the function is a program function for initiating execution of at least one function associated with the foot spa.

4. The foot spa of claim 3, wherein the program function initiates a plurality of functions associated with the foot spa in an automated sequence.

5. The foot spa of claim 3, wherein the at least one function is predetermined.

6. The foot spa of claim 3, wherein the at least one function is selectively determined.

7. The foot spa of claim 4, wherein the plurality of functions are predetermined.

8. The foot spa of claim 4, wherein the plurality of functions are selectively determined.

9. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the remote control unit has controls for controlling operation of the foot spa.

10. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the control signal is transmitted using a communication protocol selected from the group consisting of infrared, radio frequency, and sonic transmission.

11. The foot spa of claim 1, further comprising a lid to at least partially enclose the reservoir.

12. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the remote control unit has two portions that fit together in a watertight fashion to provide resistance to the penetration of water.

13. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the remote control unit floats when in water.

14. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the remote control unit has one or more controls selected from the group consisting of on/off control, vibration control, bubble control, water-jet control, and program control.

15. The foot spa of claim 1, wherein the remote control unit has an on/off control, a vibration control, a bubble control, a water-jet control, and a program control.

16. A method for controlling a foot spa, said method comprising the steps of: transmitting a control signal from a remote control unit to the foot spa via wireless communication, wherein the remote control unit controls a function of the foot spa; and receiving the control signal by a receiver located in or on a housing of the foot spa; and processing the received control signal to effectuate execution of the function.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising a step of selecting the function from a group consisting of vibration, bubble, and water-jet.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising a step of activating, from the remote control unit, a program function for initiating execution of at least one function associated with the foot spa.

19. The method of claim 16, further comprising a step of activating a program function for initiating execution of a plurality of functions associated with the foot spa.

20. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of transmitting a control signal controls all of the functions of the foot spa.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a foot spa. More particularly, the present invention relates to a foot spa having a remote control unit for controlling the operation of the foot spa.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] In the prior art, there are known foot therapy massagers for providing a variety of vibrating massage sensations, both with or without liquid, and aerated bubble massage sensations, either alone or in combination. Generally, a common objective in the prior art devices is to provide relief to a user by providing soothing, therapeutic stimuli to the user's feet.

[0005] However, operation of the prior art foot therapy devices is characterized by inconvenience and requires manipulation of controls located on the foot therapy devices. Thus, any soothing, and relaxing therapeutic benefit(s) gained by use of the foot therapy device must necessarily be interrupted in order to control the device.

[0006] Therefore, there exists a need to provide a foot spa that is easily controlled and operated, unencumbered or limited by controls located or attached to the foot spa therapy.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to provide a foot spa having remote activation and control capabilities.

[0008] It is another object of the present invention to provide a foot spa that communicates with the receiver located in the foot spa using a wireless communication protocol.

[0009] It is still another object of the present invention to provide such a foot spa having a remote control unit that facilitates controlling operation of the foot spa by functions accessed thereby, while maintaining the relaxing context induced by the operation of the foot spa.

[0010] It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a foot spa in which the remote control unit includes a program for operating the foot spa via a control signal generated by the remote control unit and transmitted to a receiver located in the foot spa.

[0011] It is still a further object of the present invention to provide such to a foot spa that has a housing defining a reservoir for retaining a volume of liquid, a lid partially covering a portion of the reservoir, a wireless remote control unit for generating a signal for controlling a plurality of functions of the foot spa, and a receiver for receiving the control signal.

[0012] The above and other objects, advantages, and benefits of the present invention will be understood by reference to following detailed description and appended sheets of drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a foot spa having a remote control unit in accordance with the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of a plurality of attachments for use in conjunction with the foot spa shown in FIG. 1; and

[0015] FIG. 3 is a top view of the exemplary remote control unit shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] Referring to the drawings and in particular FIG. 1, there is provided a foot spa generally represented by reference numeral 10. The foot spa 10 has a housing 20. Housing 20 has a floor or bottom wall 22, sidewalls 24 (including a front sidewall, not shown), and a top or top wall 26, with the bottom wall and sidewalls, and preferably all three, defining a reservoir 28 for the placement of feet for therapeutic massaging therein and for optionally containing liquid.

[0017] Housing 20 has a number of massage nodules 30 that extend from bottom wall 24, a number of aeration outlets 34 that are positioned through the bottom wall, a pair of rollers 36 positioned over some aeration outlets, a heel rest 38 positioned on top 26, and a receiver 52 positioned preferably on the uppermost portion of the top. Housing 10 also preferably has an attachment receptor 39, preferably positioned on top 26, for receiving a foot stimulus attachment 42 therein. Housing 20 also preferably has a remote control unit receptacle 50 for receiving remote control unit 70 of foot spa 10.

[0018] Each roller 15 is detachably affixed to bottom wall 22 for selectively providing therapeutic stimuli to feet placed in reservoir 28 of foot spa 10. Rollers 15 have a movable, rolling portion for providing a kneading sensation as a foot is moved thereupon, and aeration outlets 34 for dispensing of invigorating air bubbles (if water is in the reservoir and a “bubbles” function is activated).

[0019] In a preferred embodiment, attachment receptor 39 has a spinning foot stimulus attachment 42 that is removably disposed in the attachment receptor for, at a user's option, providing therapeutic stimulus to a foot placed thereupon. Heel rest 38 is provided to facilitate the placement of the foot on spinning attachment 40 by providing a slip-resistant surface for the foot. Spinning attachment 40 is preferably activated, that is, set into a spinning motion, upon being depressed.

[0020] FIG. 2 shows three exemplary spinning attachments 40 for use in conjunction with foot spa 10. These spinning attachments 40 include a brush 42, a pumice stone 44, and a massager 46. However, other spinning attachments 40 known in the art can be used in connection with foot spa 10.

[0021] Housing 20 also may have a vibration mechanism (not shown) for imparting a vibratory motion to bottom wall 22. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that any of the known methods suitable for generating a vibratory motion in a foot spa may be used in foot spa 10 and are thus fall within the scope of the present invention.

[0022] Housing 20 preferably has a cover 21 that is removably secured to top 26, for covering, preferably partially, reservoir 28. Cover 21 promotes containment of water in foot spa 10 when water is deposited therein. Cover 21 also facilitates easy insertion and removal of feet from foot spa 10. Water deposited in foot spa 10 is optionally circulated by a motor driven pump (not shown) housed in the interior of housing 20. The pump draws water from reservoir 28 into the pump through an inlet 80 and expels water into the reservoir via a “jetting” action through water jet 85. Water jet 85 preferably has dual outlets that may be selectively positioned by the user and directed in a desired direction. The pump used by foot spa 10 may have any number or variety of pumps suitably sized and rated for application in the foot spa of the present invention.

[0023] Foot spa 10 has an aeration system that includes a liquid circulation network having the pump discussed above, and one or more venturi mixers (not shown), all preferably retained in the portion of housing 20 located underneath heel rest 38. The circulation network has aeration outlets 34 opening into reservoir 28. Air is preferably drawn into foot spa 10 via an air inlet(s) located on the bottom of foot spa 10, with water being drawn from the reservoir via water inlet 80.

[0024] Air and water is provided to the venturi mixers by a network of pipes or in connection in air/fluid communication with the air and water inlets. The water/air mixture is routed to the aeration outlets 34 for the provisioning of invigorating air bubbles into reservoir 28.

[0025] In an embodiment of the present invention, operation of foot spa 10 is greatly enhanced by remote control unit 70. Remote control unit 70 has an internal power source (preferably batteries) and associated electronic circuitry for wirelessly transmitting a control signal to receiver 28 located in or on-board foot spa 10. Remote control unit 70 enhances foot spa 10 since the controls necessary to activate, control, and deactivate the various operational functions of the foot spa, are accessed and conveniently packaged in the remote control unit. Thus, one using foot spa 10 can control the various operations of the foot spa without impeding the relaxing context induced by operation of the foot spa. Wireless communication between remote control unit 70 and foot spa 10 may be accomplished using infrared, radio frequency (RF), or any other wireless communication protocol.

[0026] FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary remote control unit 70 having portions 72 and 74. Remote control unit 70 is adapted to sit in remote control unit receptacle 50 of foot spa 10. Portions 72 and 74 are detachably connected together for facilitating access to, for example, batteries located therein and for replacement of the same. Advantageously, portions 72 and 74 fit together in a watertight fashion to provide remote control unit 70 resistant to the penetration of water. Also, remote control unit 70 floats when disposed in water. Function controls located on, and thus controlling associated functions of foot spa 10 include, for example, on/off control 75, vibration control 76, bubble control 77, water-jet control 78, and program control 79.

[0027] In brief, on/off control 75 is sequentially depressed to activate/deactivate operation of foot spa 10. Vibration control 76 is sequentially depressed to activate/deactivate the vibratory mechanism of foot spa 10. Bubble control 77 is sequentially depressed to activate/deactivate the aerated bubbling function of foot spa 10. Water-jet control 78 is sequentially depressed to activate/deactivate the water “jetting” function of foot spa 10. Thus, complete control of the functional operation of foot spa 10 can be accomplished without having to manipulate controls located on the foot spa. Activation or deactivation of a particular function commences generation of a control signal that is transmitted to and received by receiver 28. The control signal received by receiver 28 is processed to effectuate the associated function.

[0028] In a significant aspect of the present foot spa 10, functional controls can be entirely eliminated from housing 20. Remote control unit 70 obviates the need to locate function control(s) on the housing of foot spa 10, as well as eliminating the inconvenience and necessity of bending over to access and manipulate foot spa controls situated on housing 20. Thus, the therapeutic benefits realized from using foot spa 10 need not be interrupted in order to stop, adjust, or continue operation of the foot spa.

[0029] In another aspect of the present invention, program control 79 may be sequentially depressed in order to activate/deactivate an automated, programmed sequence of foot spa functions (e.g., vibration, bubble, and water-jet). The program may be predetermined (i.e., factory default) or selectively programmed by a user. In either event, the program may be associated with a time component that determines the length of time the program operates.

[0030] It should be appreciated that the function controls discussed above are exemplary of the foot spa of the present invention and do not preclude the inclusion, exclusion, and combination of other foot spa function controls.

[0031] It should also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the particular foot spa functions and other aspects of the teachings herein are but examples of the present invention. Thus, they do not limit the scope or variety of applications that the present invention may be suitably implemented. Thus, it should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of a present implementation of the teachings herein. Various alternatives and modification may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variances that fall within the scope of the appended claims.