Title:
Ergonomic brush with magnet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A grooming brush includes a body having a convex top surface with multiple tooled finger grooves arranged to accommodate multiple hand positions and/or right and left-handed grasps. This ergonomic grip reduces hand and wrist strain and fatigue. The bottom surface of the brush body is equipped with a flexibly attached configuration of bristles. A magnet is fixed within the body of the brush with one pole (e.g., south) in the direction of the top surface and the groomer's hand, and the other pole (e.g., north) in the direction of the bottom surface and the grooming subject. With metal bristles, the magnetic field at the skin surface of the grooming subject may be enhanced by the proximity of the magnetized bristles. The groomer and the grooming subject may thus experience the benefits of magnetic therapy through the grooming process.



Inventors:
Gonzalez, Bridgett (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/894577
Publication Date:
01/20/2005
Filing Date:
07/19/2004
Assignee:
GONZALEZ BRIDGETT
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/159.1, 119/625, 119/633, 15/143.1
International Classes:
A46B5/02; A46B15/00; (IPC1-7): A46B5/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOCKET CLERK - MWM LA (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A brush comprising: a body having a top surface and a bottom surface; said top surface comprising a plurality of grooves ergonomically arranged to receive a plurality of fingers for grasping said apparatus; said bottom surface comprising a plurality of bristles; and a magnet disposed within said body.

2. The brush of claim 1, wherein said plurality of grooves are configured for hand positions with a left hand and a right hand.

3. The brush of claim 1, wherein said plurality of grooves are configured to accept a range of hand sizes

4. The brush of claim 1, wherein said plurality of grooves are configured to receive said plurality of fingers in a plurality of hand positions.

5. The brush of claim 4, wherein said plurality of grooves are configured to ergonomically receive said plurality of fingers: in a first hand position with said hand in line with a long axis of said brush; and in a second hand position with said hand tangential to said long axis of said brush.

6. The brush of claim 5, wherein said plurality of grooves are further configured to ergonomically receive said plurality of fingers in a third hand position with said hand at an angle between said long axis and a short axis of said brush.

7. The brush of claim 1, wherein said bristles comprise a metallic material that is magnetized by said magnet.

8. The brush of claim 1: wherein said magnet is positioned with a first magnetic pole facing said top surface to expose a hand on said top surface to a magnetic field; and wherein said magnet is positioned with a second magnetic pole facing said bristles to expose a grooming subject to said magnetic field.

9. The brush of claim 8, wherein said first pole is the north pole and said second pole is the south pole.

10. The brush of claim 1, wherein said magnet comprises a set of magnets.

11. The brush of claim 1, wherein said magnet comprises a ferrite magnet.

12. A brush comprising: a body having a top surface and a bottom surface, wherein said top surface is configured to be held by a user, and wherein said bottom surface comprises a plurality of bristles; and a magnetic element disposed within said body.

13. The brush of claim 12, wherein said magnetic element comprises one or more magnets affixed to an underside of said top surface.

14. The brush of claim 12, wherein said top surface is ergonomically shaped to accommodate an open handed grip.

15. The brush of claim 12, wherein said bristles are magnetized by said magnetic element.

16. The brush of claim 12, wherein said top surface comprises a plurality of finger grooves configured to accept a plurality of hand positions.

17. The brush of claim 16, wherein said top surface is oval shaped with said plurality of finger grooves disposed around a perimeter of said top surface.

18. The brush of claim 12, wherein said brush is configured to expose a hand grasping said top surface to a magnetic field generated by said magnetic element.

19. The brush of claim 12, wherein said brush is configured to expose a grooming subject to a magnetic field generated by said magnetic element.

20. A brush comprising: a top element configured as a grasping surface with a plurality of grooves for receiving a plurality of fingers in one of a plurality of supported hand positions; a bottom element configured as a grooming surface with a plurality of bristles, wherein said bottom element is configured to engage said top element to form a hollow body; a magnet disposed within said hollow body, said magnet exerting a magnetic field over said grasping surface and said grooming surface.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/488,200, filed on Jul. 17, 2003.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to the field of pet care, and more specifically, to grooming devices.

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights associated with this document.

BACKGROUND

Prior art brushes, e.g., for grooming pets, are commonly configured as a bristle-holding base connected to an elongated handle. Two examples of this brush design are shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. As shown, each prior art brush is composed of a base 100 containing a number of bristles 101 for grooming a pet's hair. A handle element 102 is coupled to base 100 to provide a grasping region for a groomer's hand.

During use, a groomer's hand encircles the handle element 102 as if making a fist. The groomer applies pressure in the direction of the bristles to engage the coat of the pet subject. Grooming is accomplished by pushing or pulling the brush in a direction substantially perpendicular to the axis of the handle element.

For multiple reasons, this brush design is non-ergonomic. The closed-fist grip on the handle leads to hand and wrist fatigue. Further, by having the bristles located on a base at the end of the handle, the groomer must apply a certain amount of wrist torque to maintain pressure against the grooming subject and to maintain the perpendicular brushing motion. This wrist torque can lead to extra strain on the muscles, tendons and joints of the hand and wrist. With intermittent use, such as by a pet owner who occasionally grooms her pet, this brush design can lead to temporary pain and fatigue in the hand and wrist. With constant use, e.g., such as by a professional groomer that grooms pets daily for extended periods of time, this brush design may also lead to repetitive motion injury and chronic nerve and joint conditions. A better grooming brush design is therefore desired.

In addition to causing strain and fatigue for the groomer, the grooming experience may be unpleasant for the pet that is being groomed. The tension on the pet's hair may be painful, and the close contact, possibly by a person with which the pet is unfamiliar, can increase the stress level of the pet. The pain and stress experienced by the pet may lead to the pet struggling or even biting the groomer. In response, the groomer may find herself applying more pressure with the brush and/or restraining the pet more forcefully, leading to further pain and stress in the pet, not to mention further fatigue and frustration in the groomer. A brush that reduces the pain and stress on the pet would therefore be beneficial.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B are examples of prior art brush designs.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of an invention.

FIG. 4 is a front plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a rear plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a left-side plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a right-side plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a cut-away view of a brush showing an internal magnet in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a brush with an ergonomic grip and an integrated magnetic element. In one or more embodiments, the brush may comprise a body having a convex top surface with multiple tooled finger grooves arranged to accommodate multiple hand positions and/or right and left-handed grasps. This ergonomic grip reduces hand and wrist strain and fatigue. The bottom surface of the brush body may be equipped with a flexibly attached configuration of bristles, e.g., for grooming pet hair. The body of the brush may comprise an internally affixed magnetic element having, for example, one pole (e.g., south) facing in the direction of the top surface and the groomer's hand, and the other pole (e.g., north) facing in the direction of the bottom surface and the grooming subject. In one or more embodiments, the bristles may comprise metal or a metallic coating flexibly attached to the body of the brush, such that the magnetic field at the skin surface of the grooming subject is enhanced by the proximity of magnetized bristles. The groomer and the grooming subject may thus experience the benefits of magnetic therapy through the grooming process.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention provides an ergonomic brush having an internal magnet. In the following description, numerous specific details, such as physical dimensions for one or more embodiments, are set forth to provide a more thorough description of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the 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.

Ergonomic Brush Configuration

In accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, a grooming brush may include an ergonomic grasping surface on the top side of the body of the brush, opposite to the bristles. In these embodiments, because the groomer's hand is roughly centered on the point of greatest resistance (i.e., the bristles), the wrist torque associated with prior art brush designs is minimized. Strain placed on hand and wrist muscles, tendons and joints is therefore reduced, lessening the chance of injury or chronic medical conditions.

In one or more embodiments, the ergonomic grasping surface may include a relatively smooth, convex surface which seats comfortably within the palm of the groomer's hand. Multiple grooves may be tooled into the convex surface to accommodate multiple fingers in an open-handed grip. It is not necessary for all fingers to rest in respective grooves of the brush to obtain benefits from the present invention. A combination of grooves may be provided to allow for multiple hand positions. For example, a groomer may grasp the brush with her first and second fingers to either side of the primary axis of the brush. Alternatively, a groomer may grasp the brush with four fingers spanning the width of the brush. Other hand positions may also be used. The availability of such alternative hand positions allows the groomer to grasp the brush in a manner according to her preference, or in a manner which suits the size of her hand. The combination of grooves may also be configured to accommodate both right and left-handed groomers, in one or more embodiments.

The finger grooves provide a firmer grip of the brush with less effort. The groomer is therefore able to perform grooming services longer or more often with less hand and wrist fatigue. Pet owners that find it too painful or strenuous to groom their own pets with brushes of the prior art may experience less pain and strain when grooming with an embodiment of the present invention. The grooming experience may therefore become a more pleasurable bonding experience with their pet, rather than a painful chore.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. As shown, the top surface 200 is oval, having a long axis 201 and a short axis 202. In other embodiments, other circular or angular body shapes that will accommodate the ergonomic features of the invention may be used without departing from the scope of the invention. The brush body may be constructed, for example, of any durable, lightweight, rigid (or semi-rigid) material, such as ABS plastic.

In FIG. 2, labels A, B, C and D indicate the front, back, right and left sides of the brush body, respectively. In one embodiment, the length of the brush may be on or about five inches, with the width being on or about three inches. This size of brush is useful for average hand sizes, though it will be clear that various lengths and widths may be used (e.g., for children or for people with extra large hands) without departing from the scope of the invention.

The embodiment of FIG. 2 is shown with seven finger grooves, labeled as grooves 203-209. Other embodiments may use a lesser or greater number of finger grooves and support a lesser or greater number of hand positions. Each groove terminates adjacent to the edge of the top surface, as the grooves are meant to receive fingers grasping around the top surface of the brush body. To provide a comfortable ergonomic grip, it is typically sufficient for the grooves to have a maximum depth of approximately 0.0625 to 0.125 inches below the rest of the top surface at the deepest point in the groove. Note that the top surface of the brush body is preferably convex to conform to the palm of the hand more ergonomically (see FIG. 4, for example), so the grooves may track the curvature of the convex top surface to a certain degree. Other embodiments may use deeper or shallower grooves without departing from the scope of the invention.

The more circular grooves permit the use of the groove in a greater variety of hand positions or with a greater variety of hand sizes, whereas a more elongated groove provides a more secure fit within a tighter range of hand positions. Most embodiments will have both circular and elongated grooves.

As an example of some of the hand positions supported by the embodiment of FIG. 2, grooves 203-205 may accommodate the third finger, the second finger and the first finger of the right hand with the hand at an angle between the long and short axis of the brush. Grooves 203-206 may also be used to accommodate the fourth, third, second and first fingers, respectively with the first and second fingers splitting the long axis of the brush. Grooves 205 and 206 may also be used to accommodate the first and second fingers of the left hand. Grooves 207-209 may be used in a grip with the fingers in parallel with the short axis to accommodate the third, second and first fingers, respectively, of the right hand, as well as the first, second and third fingers (or the second, third and fourth fingers), respectively, of the left hand.

Groove 205 is roughly circular, as seen from above, whereas groove 204 is elongated at an angle from the long axis 202, e.g., roughly forty-five degrees. Groove 203 may be formed roughly one-half to one inch from groove 204, with an elongation in a direction similar to groove 204. Groove 205 is shown with a more circular shape because the finger positions associated with the hand positions described above may vary to a greater extent than the finger positions for grooves 203 and 204. Because of the variation in finger position, groove 205 may also have a shallower profile relative to the other grooves.

Groove 206 is at the front of the brush, extending roughly parallel with the long axis 201, offset from the long axis by approximately one-half to one inch. Grooves 207-209, being used for gripping the brush with the hand substantially perpendicular to the long axis 201, are disposed along the left side of the brush with the grooves extending substantially parallel with the short axis 202. Finger position variation for grooves 207-209 may depend primarily on differences in hand size.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of an invention. A ring 301 of rigid or semi-rigid material, such as ABS plastic, supports a flexible bristle base 302, which contains an arrangement of bristles 303. In other embodiments, a rigid or semi-rigid bristle base may replace the ring and flexible bristle base shown.

As shown in FIG. 3, ring 301 is approximately three-eighths inch in width, though larger or smaller widths of ring 301 may be used in other embodiments to support bristle base 302. The flexible bristle base 302 may be formed, for example, of synthetic rubber, with bristles arranged in concentric circles or ovals, such that when the bristle base is flexed outward from the brush body, the tips of the bristles cover an expanded footprint (e.g., from approximately 2.125 inches wide at bristle base 302 to a bristle tip footprint approximately 2.75 inches wide). The bristles may be formed of any rigid or semi-rigid material. In a preferred embodiment, the bristles are nickel-plated or stainless steel.

FIG. 4 is a front plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. Visible from the front of the brush are top surface 200, ring 301, bristle base 302 and the bristle footprint 401. Grooves 204-207 are visible from left to right. In one or more embodiments, top surface 200 is convex with the finger grooves extending from near the highest region of top surface 200 to the fitted junction between top surface 200 and ring 301.

Ring 301 is shown, in this embodiment, with a rounded transition between bristle base 302 and top surface 200. Such a rounded transition is preferred to a ring structure having corners that may cause discomfort to the grooming subject and that are less ergonomic with respect to the groomer's grasp (the groomer's thumb may rest partially on ring 301). The height of ring 301 is illustrated as approximately 0.5 inches at the front, though the front height of ring 301 may vary for different embodiments.

FIG. 5 is a rear plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. Grooves 203 and 209 may be visible. Also, in one or more embodiments, the convex nature of top surface 200 may exhibit a slightly higher left side and slightly flatter right side of the brush, to better suit certain hand positions. Ring 301 is shown with a height of around 0.25 inches, illustrating that, in some embodiments, top surface 200 may be slightly inclined from back to front when seated in ring 301.

FIG. 6 is a left-side plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. The incline of ring 301 in this embodiment, as well as the lengthwise footprint 601 of the bristles, are readily apparent. The general positions of grooves 206-209 are also indicated. Top surface 200 exhibits a convex shape along the long axis of the brush body, providing a comfortable grip. FIG. 7 provides a right-side plan view of a brush in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. The general positions of grooves 203-205 are illustrated towards the front of top surface 200.

Given the surface configuration having finger grooves as described above and illustrated by way of an example embodiment in FIGS. 2-7, an improved, ergonomically designed brush is provided. As a further advance in brush design with benefits for both the groomer and the pet, one or more embodiments of the invention may also include a magnetic element disposed within the body of the brush. The tissues exposed to the resulting magnetic field, both in the hand of the groomer and the skin of the pet, may experience benefits normally associated with magnetic therapy, as described in greater detail below.

Magnetic Therapy

Magnetic therapy is the practice of applying magnetic fields to obtain beneficial effects in body tissues. Magnetic therapy has brought about the development of fixed or wearable products containing permanent magnets. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,509,219 teaches a sleeping mattress provided with permanent magnets. U.S. Pat. No. 4,921,560 teaches a method for affixing permanent magnets to bed coverings. Current magnetic therapy merchandise include head bands, vests, belts, wrist bands, supports for the elbows, arms, legs, knee and ankle, and also necklaces.

The apparent premise for the merchandise provided with the magnetic elements is to place a permanent magnet such that body cells are exposed to a low-level magnetic field emitted from the permanent magnets. The magnetic exposure is believed to assist stressed cells in restoring their correct balance of electrical charge for performing more efficiently. The magnetic exposure when concentrated at the same specific points on the body known to acupuncture and accupressure practitioners is a developing therapeutic practice.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,587,956 teaches that opposite magnetic poles have unique therapeutic effects on body tissues. Specifically, the flux from a north pole of a magnet, if applied in effective levels on the order of at least 200 gauss per square inch, has a sedator effect, reduces pain, mobilizes calcium, relieves muscle spasms, increases joint mobility and lowers the pH of the affected tissues. By contrast, flux from a south pole of a magnet stimulates circulation, speeds healing time, strengthens tissues, and raises the pH to a weak alkaline condition characterizing healthy tissue. The north pole flux may reduce the electrogalvanic potential across the nerve sheaths in the affected tissue to a value substantially below that recognized by the brain as a pain signal; and the south pole flux, if applied subsequently, does not raise the potential to a value which the brain would recognize as a pain signal, thus it can effect healing while enabling normal activity without pain.

Magnet Integrated Within Brush

To provide the therapeutic effects described above, one or more embodiments of the invention may include a magnetic element disposed within the body of the brush. For example, one or more magnets may be affixed to the hollow underside of top surface 200. The magnet may be affixed, for example, with an adhesive substance, a mechanical fastening apparatus or the top surface piece 200 of the brush may have a molded fitting that is configured to retain the magnetic element, e.g., in a compression fit. Some examples of mechanical fastening apparatus may include a flexible clipping mechanism, or a magnetic element container that may be attached to the underside of top surface 200 using screws driven into molded plastic footings in the underside of top surface 200.

In one embodiment, the magnetic element is positioned such that the north pole of the magnetic element is facing the bristle base and the grooming subject (e.g., the dog), whereas the south pole of the magnetic element is facing the top surface 200 and the hand of the groomer. It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that the magnetic element may be oriented in other directions while still exposing the groomer and pet to the beneficial effects of the magnetic field generated by the magnetic element.

The magnetic element may include one or more magnets, preferably in the form of one or more ferrite or ferromagnetic magnets to achieve a strong magnetic field. However, other embodiments may use any type of magnet, including an electromagnet powered, for example, by one or more batteries disposed within the brush body or by a power cord coupled through a connector in the body of the brush to a power adapter device. In one or more preferred embodiments, the magnet provides a magnetic field on the order of 200 Gauss per square inch, or greater.

FIG. 8 is a cut-away view of a brush embodiment showing a magnetic element 800 disposed inside the brush body in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention. In this embodiment, the top surface 200 includes molded footings 801, threaded to receive screws 802. A thin container 803 (e.g., formed of plastic) having eyelets 804 for screws, is coupled via screws 802 to the underside of top surface 200. The lowest portion of magnetic element 800 is disposed adjacent to bristle base 302. A pet being groomed will therefore be exposed to the magnetic field of magnetic element 800. If the bristles 303 comprise a metal material, then the bristles 303 will be magnetized, while making direct contact with the skin of the pet. Likewise, the groomer's hand will be exposed to the magnetic field directed out through top surface 200.

Though the foregoing description has been directed to brush embodiments intended for grooming purposes, the concepts herein may be extended to other types of brushes, such as scrubbing tools for cleaning, with similar benefits to the brush user.

Thus, an ergonomic brush having an internal magnet has been described. Particular embodiments described herein are illustrative only and should not limit the present invention thereby. The invention is defined by the claims and their full scope of equivalents.





 
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