Title:
Wrist & headband with a source of cooling energy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The wrist or headband described herein is of composite construction, specifically, an essentially continuous elastic band or sleeve, which is anatomically conforming in overall dimensions to the approximate wrist or headband size of a wearer; and, a moisture absorbent material, associated with at least one end of the sleeve, to wick moisture from the interface of a wearer and the sleeve into a reservoir located on the exterior surface of the sleeve. The sleeve is preferably fabricated of the same material as the foam fabric used in the fabrication of a SCUBA diver's suit, specifically, a closed cell foam. The thickness of such materials is generally uniform throughout the device and designed to provide more than adequate thermal insulation for the source of cooling energy housed within the device. The sleeve is further modified on the interior surface thereof (also “skin contact surface”) to accommodate a source of thermal energy (also “chill pack”). This modification of the interior of the sleeve (also herein “chill pocket”) can include a compartment for containment of a source of cooling thermal energy, or integral bladder containing a high heat capacity fluid or gel.



Inventors:
Rivera, Robert (N. Miami Beach, FL, US)
Elias, Victor A. (US)
Application Number:
10/157549
Publication Date:
12/04/2003
Filing Date:
05/30/2002
Assignee:
RIVERA ROBERT
ELIAS VICTOR A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/171
International Classes:
A41D20/00; (IPC1-7): A41D1/00
View Patent Images:
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20010039673Style-n-sleeveNovember, 2001Carraway
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20080184452METHOD OF PROVIDING AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A MODESTY COVERING AND ARTICLE OF CLOTHING FOR SAMEAugust, 2008Smaczny
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20030167549Tie napkinSeptember, 2003Bourne



Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John H. Faro, Esq. (Key Biscayne, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. In an anatomically fitted sleeve or band having a source of cooling energy and a perspiration absorbing member, wherein the improvement comprises: an essentially continuous anatomically fitted sleeve or band of thermally insulating, elastomeric material, wherein said sleeve or band is anatomically conforming to a feature or appendage of a wearer so as to remain in place during relatively strenuous activities of said wearer, said anatomically fitted sleeve or band having associated therewith (a) means for supply of cooling energy to said wearer and (b) means for absorption of perspiration, said thermally insulating elastomeric material comprising a closed cell foam like material being essentially devoid of thermal transmission, each of said cooling energy supply means and said perspiration absorption means being discrete and independent of the other and associated with said sleeve (10) of elastomeric material to impart cooling energy to said wearer and absorb preparation from said wearer during use.

2. The anatomically fitted sleeve or band of claim 1, wherein the thermally insulating elastomeric material is essentially the same as the materials used in the fabrication of a SCUBA diver's wet suit.

3. The wrist band of claim 1, wherein the perspiration absorbing means comprises a wicking means and a reservoir.

4. The wrist band of claim 1, wherein the cooling energy supply means comprises a high heat capacity gel-like material that is capable of chilling to and release of cooling thermally energy.

5. The wrist band of claim 1, wherein the said sleeve includes an insert or fastener to permit said sleeve to be adjusted on, or released from, an anatomical feature or appendage of said wearer.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to an article of manufacture. More specifically, this invention is directed to device which includes an anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) having a source of cooling energy associated therewith, and means, distinct from the source of cooling energy, for absorbing perspiration. The device is designed for use in an active environment while maintaining itself in position on the body during work or play.

[0003] 2. Background of Invention

[0004] Headband s and wrist band s worn during sports, such as tennis and volleyball, are well known. Such bands are commonly worn to absorb perspiration, thereby preventing perspiration from contacting the user's eyes and/or hands where it may potentially interfere with the user's performance. Such contemporary bands typically comprise elastic terry cloth or the like which is configured to snugly encircle the wearer's wrist or the upper portion of the user's head.

[0005] Flexible cold packs for use in therapeutic applications, such as to reduce swelling and inflammation resulting from sprained joints, are likewise well known. Such cold packs typically comprise a gel, or comparable material, disposed within a fluid-impenetrable bag which may be cooled to a temperature below the freezing point of water without becoming rigid. Such cold packs typically have a comparatively high heat capacity such that they may be placed in contact with an anatomical portion of the user's body for a prolonged period of time, i.e. 15-45 minutes, before the cooling effect is lost.

[0006] Overheating of the participants during sporting events is common, particularly on hot and/or humid days. Participants frequently attempt to cool themselves by applying a water spray to their bodies such that evaporative cooling will occur. However, this technique is not particularly effective when the humidity is high. Other techniques, such as drinking cold liquids, may affect the user's performance and possibly present health risks.

[0007] No effective means of providing a cooled band for use in sports is presently known. Additionally, no means is presently known for maintaining contact of a therapeutic cold pack with an anatomical portion of a user's body during sports activities. As such, although the prior art has recognized to a limited extent the problems of absorbing perspiration during sporting events and of cooling the participants, the proposed solutions have to date been ineffective in providing a satisfactory remedy. Thus, it would be desirable to provide a sports band (10′) which would both absorb the user's perspiration and provide cooling to the user.

[0008] The following patents are illustrative of representative prior art concepts: U.S. Pat. No. 5,305,470 (to McKay issued Apr. 26, 1994) discloses a sports band for absorbing perspiration and for cooling the wearer. In one embodiment of the McKay device, the sports band is comprised of a band of elastic absorbent material, generally hollow and toroidal in shape; and, configured to be worn upon a person's head or wrist. The McKay device has a slit formed upon its inner surface such that a flexible cold pack may be received thereby and disposed within the band. In another embodiment of the McKay device, the sports band is comprised of a band of comparatively inelastic absorbent material, hollow and generally toroidal in shape, and configured to be worn upon a person's head or wrist. The relatively inelastic absorbent material does not form a complete toroid, but rather is cut completely through at one point such that two ends of the inelastic material are defined. A strip of expandable or elastic fabric connects the two ends together to complete the band and facilitate stretching thereof. The flexible or elastic fabric is preferably sewn to both the upper and lower portions of the inelastic material at one end thereof, and to only the upper portion at the opposite end thereof. By sewing only to the upper portion of the inelastic material at the opposite end thereof, an aperture is formed therein such that a flexible cold pack may be received thereby and disposed within the band. Thus, use of the expandable or elastic material facilitates the use of a comparatively non-stretchable fabric for the generally toroidal portion of the band.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 6,165,208 (to Reyes et al., issued Dec. 26, 2000) discloses a sweatband system and method which generally comprises a head or wrist band having a planar configuration with a periphery. In one embodiment of the Reyes et al device, the wristband and the headband can include an inner terry cloth layer with a serpentinely configured heating coil mounted therein. Alternatively, an elastomeric outer layer of each band is defined by an inner face and an outer face forming an interior space for housing a cold pack. Access to the interior space of the outer layer is gained through a laterally extending slit formed in the outer layer which is selectively sealed by way of a pile fastener. The wristband preferably includes a pair of pile fasteners each mounted to one of the ends of the wristband for securing the wristband about the wrist of the user.

[0010] As is evident from review of the foregoing patent literature, the past efforts at design and fabrication of writ and headbands, having incorporating a source of cooling energy, are rather primitive because of the design limitation imposed by the choice of materials and the failure to combine materials of different properties to accommodate the multiple demands placed upon such a device. Accordingly, there continues to exist a need for a wrist and headband that can be used by an active individual without displacement by action or movement. In addition such device should both absorb perspiration and dispense cooling energy to the wearer in a manner that optimizes each distinct function. The representative devices disclosed in the representative prior art are limited because of their failure to isolate each of these distinct functions within the device, and thereby compromise performance.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0011] It is the object of this invention to remedy the above as well as related deficiencies in the prior art.

[0012] More specifically, it is the principal object of this invention to provide a wrist or headband having discrete functional components for absorption of perspiration and for supply/dispensing of cooling energy.

[0013] It is another object of this invention to provide a wrist or headband having discrete functional components wherein the an anatomically conforming sleeve or band is fitted to the wearer so as to provide a cool energy dispensing surface contiguous with the wearer's skin and a perspiration absorption component for wicking of moisture from the wearer's skin to a “reservoir” on the exposed surface of the sleeve or band.

[0014] It is still yet another object of this invention to provide a wrist or headband having discrete functional components wherein the anatomically conforming sleeve or band is fabricated from a sheet (preferably elastomeric) of closed cell foam of the type used in a SCUBA diver's wet suit and other forms of thermally insulating apparrel, and the perspiration absorbing wick and reservoir on the exposed surface of the sleeve or band comprises a “terry cloth” like materials.

[0015] Additional objects of this invention include an improved method of cooling of localized areas of a person's anatomy without interference in the activities of the person.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The above and related objects are achieved by providing a wrist or headband fabricated of composite construction, specifically, an essentially continuous elastic sleeve conforming in overall dimensions to the approximate wrist or headband dimension of a wearer; and, a moisture absorbent material, associated with at least one end of the sleeve, to wick moisture from the interface of a wearer and the sleeve into a reservoir located on the exterior surface of the sleeve. The sleeve is preferably fabricated of the same material as the foam fabric used in the fabrication of a SCUBA diver's suit and other types of thermally insulating apparrel, specifically, a closed cell foam. The thickness of such materials is generally uniform throughout the device and designed to provide more than adequate thermal insulation for the source of cooling energy, that is housed within the device, from the ambient environment. The sleeve is further modified on the interior surface thereof (also “skin contact surface”) to accommodate a source of thermal energy (also “chill pack”). This modification of the interior of the sleeve (also herein “chill pocket”) can include a compartment for containment of a source of cooling thermal energy, or integral bladder containing a high heat capacity fluid or gel.

[0017] In one of the preferred embodiments of this invention, the source of thermal cooling energy is a gel-like, inert material that can pre-chilled in the conventional manner (placement in a freezer) and thereafter placed within the sleeve of the device. This latter material retains its gel-like consistency over a wide temperature range and is otherwise non-toxic and non-irritating. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,545,230 and 3,885,403 are examples of this type of material, and thus herein incorporated by reference in their entirety. Alternatively, the source of cooling energy can be cryogenic formulation, the components of which are maintained separate from one another until physically combined within a pouch prior to placement within the “chill pocket” of the device.

[0018] In an alternative embodiment the device of this invention, the structural component of the device are comparatively inelastic. In order to accommodate the placement and removal thereof from the anatomy of the wearer, the inelastic band includes an elastic strip, or insert, running across the width of the device. This strip or insert is expandable and connects the inelastic portions of the band together to complete the assembly band and facilitate stretching thereof. The flexible strip or insert is preferably sewn to both the upper and lower portions of the inelastic material at one end thereof, and to only the upper portion at the opposite end thereof. By sewing only to the upper portion of the inelastic material at the opposite end thereof, an aperture is formed therein such that a flexible chill pack may be received thereby and disposed within the band. Thus, the expandable or elastic material facilitates the use of a comparatively non-stretchable fabric for the major anatomically defining portion of the band.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0019] FIG. 1 is perspective view of a wrist and headband of this invention.

[0020] FIG. 2A is partial section of the wrist band of FIG. 1, and FIG. 2B a cross-section of the wrist band of FIG. 1.

[0021] FIG. 3 is an alternative embodiment of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION INCLUDING PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0022] The Figures which accompany this application, and referenced herein, depict a representative embodiment of the wrist and headband of this invention. In the embodiments of this invention illustrated in these Figures, one or more components of the wrist and head band may appear in more than one Figure. Accordingly, components which are common to more than one Figure are assigned a common reference numeral for continuity of description and ease of understanding.

[0023] FIG. 1 depicts an anatomically fitted sleeve or band positioned on a wearer's wrist (wrist band (10)) and on a wearer's head (headband (10′)). In each instance, the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) comprises a thermally insulating elastomeric material comprising a closed cell foam. The materials used in the fabrication of this anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) is of sufficient thickness to thermally insulate the skin of the wearer from the ambient environment. This anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) includes one or more pockets (12) accessable from the interior (14) of this device for housing a container or bladder (16) filled with a high heat capacity fluid or gel (17). This high heat capacity fluid or gel (17) can be pre-cooled or chilled in a freezer or other comparable cooling energy, and thereafter inserted within the pocket (12) of the device immediately prior to the wearer placing the device on his body. The interior surface (14) of this pocket is thermally transmissive so as to afford virtual contact of the bladder with the wearer's skin, and thus absorption of heat from the wearer into the high heat capacity fluid (17) contained within the bladder (16). Depending upon the proximity of the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) to a blood vessel of the wearer, the cooling effect of the device is not simply localized, but rather is imparted to the body vessels and the blood which circulates throughout the body, so as to maintain the body temperature of the wearer at a comfortable level and reduce perspiration.

[0024] Where perspiration is produced during the activities of the wearer, a wick (16) located on the forward edge (e.g. in wrist band embodiment (18)—toward the wearer's hand; headband embodiment (18′)—toward the wearer's eyes) absorbs such moisture and transports it away from the wearer's skin into a reservoir pad (20) positioned on the exterior surface (22) of the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′). In the case of the device illustrated herein, this wick and reservoir are fabricated from an expandable terry cloth material, which is releasably affixed to the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) by a hook and loop type fastener (e.g. Velcro).

[0025] In the embodiment of this invention shown in FIG. 3, the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) includes an insert or fastener (24) for adjustment of the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) on the wearer's body. This insert or fastener (24) runs the width of the sleeve (10) so as to permit increase or decrease in the tension/pressure of the anatomically fitted sleeve (10) or band (10′) on the wearer's body. The insert or fastener (24) thus provides an additional measure of comfort and means for reducing the anatomical dimension of the band (10′) or sleeve (10) as the high heat capacity fluid or gel changes physical shape or form within the band (10′) or sleeve (10).

[0026] In the preferred embodiments of this invention, the source of cooling thermal energy is a gel-like, inert material in a flexible container or bladder, so-called “Blue Ice”, that is pre-chilled in the conventional manner and thereafter placed within interior pocket (12) located within the band (10′) or sleeve (10), so as to effect virtual contact with the skin of the wearer upon placement upon the wearer's body. This latter material maintains retains its gel-like consistency over a wide temperature range and is otherwise non-toxic and non-irritating. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,545,230 and 3,885,403 are examples of this type of material, and thus herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

[0027] In another embodiment of this invention the “chill pack” comprises a combination of at least two discrete materials, which upon being combined, chemically generate a cooling or cryogenic composition. This cryogenic composition is packaged to accommodate the pocket within the sleeve (10) or band (10′), and, unlike the high heat capacity gel, cannot be reused and is disposed of and replaced as needed.

[0028] The foregoing in illustrative of a number of the preferred embodiments of this invention and not intended as delineating its scope, which is set forth in the claims that follow.