Title:
Passive child therapy tricycle with adjustable seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A passive child therapy tricycle with a specially adjustable chassis, seat and pedals provides a highly adjustable yet efficient motorized tricycle for exercising a child's legs in a rehabilitative setting. The tricycle includes an expandable frame chassis in the shape of a child's tricycle. At the front of the tricycle a direct drive electric motor operates the pedal shaft for turning pedals. The pedals may be adjusted inwardly or outwardly to adjust the pedals' width to that of the child's hips. Adjustable handlebars allow the caregiver to increase the height of the handlebars. A two-piece seat is adjustable in the vertical direction. A curved vertical portion of the back seat provides support of the back. A seat belt through this curved vertical portion helps keep the child in an upright position. A specially contoured lower horizontal seat has a central crown with a back and sides that are tapered downwardly and outwardly. The front of the seat is tapered downwardly. The special shape of this foam lower seat keeps the child's leg apart yet supported and further ensures that the child will not slip down in the adjustable seat. Vertical adjustments for the lower seat portion allow further personalizing of the tricycle. The tricycle may be disassembled into three separate units for easy transportation or storage.



Inventors:
Hill, Leann (St. Jacob, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/254506
Publication Date:
02/16/2006
Filing Date:
10/21/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/06; A61H1/02; B62K3/16; B62K9/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060100067Training bagMay, 2006Washburn et al.
20020068666Triceps exercise device and method thereforJune, 2002Bruccoleri
20090029829NOSE TO BACK NECK AND EYE MUSCLES EXERCISEJanuary, 2009Ferrara
20080280735Folding elliptical exercise machineNovember, 2008Dickie et al.
20080103033Automobile exercises and method and apparatus for performing the sameMay, 2008Agarwal
20030008752Structure of stationary bicycleJanuary, 2003Hsu
20070293372ILLUMINATED DANCING POLE AND METHOD THEREFORDecember, 2007Kessler
20050026751Pivoting mechanism for a link rod of an elliptical exerciserFebruary, 2005Lo
20060122041Adjustable hand weight assemblyJune, 2006Kay
20060116242Trampoline with adjustable spring tensionJune, 2006Publicover
20020082145Foldable and portable dip bar arrangementJune, 2002Hamilton



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MATTHEWS EDWARDS LLC (EARTH CITY, MO, US)
Claims:
Having fully described my device I claim:

1. A motorized, adjustable exercise tricycle, comprising: (a) a lower front section including a motor connected to a pedal shaft and pedals connected to said shaft; (b) an upper vertically adjustable handlebar section adjustably and removably attached to said lower front section; (c) a rear seat section, horizontally adjustably connected to said front lower section, having a vertically adjustable vertical curved back seat section and a lower horizontal seat section that is vertically adjustable.

2. A motorized, adjustable exercise tricycle as in claim 1, wherein said pedal shaft is adjustable such that the distance between the pedals may be shortened or lengthened.

3. A motorized, adjustable exercise tricycle as in claim 1, wherein said lower horizontal seat has an upper central crown and left and right sides and a front and back that are tapered downwardly and outwardly.

4. A motorized, adjustable exercise tricycle as in claim 1, wherein said lower front section and said rear section are connected by a separating pin and wherein said handlebar section is removable from said lower front section.

Description:

This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/664,362.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of physical therapy. In particular, a motorized tricycle, attractive to children, is disclosed which has an adjustable seat to keep the child in place as well as adjustable pedals and a programmable electric motor.

In the field of exercise therapy equipment, it is often necessary to have a motorized bicycle or other device to exercise injured or impaired patients. Certain injuries could result in the paralysis of the arms or legs. Additionally, impairment or paralysis could be the result of a congenital disease. In either case, the patient needs to have the muscles of the arms or legs exercised regularly so that these muscles to not become atrophied.

There are common exercise regimens practiced throughout the health care and rehabilitative industry. However, most of these exercise regimens involve manual movement of the limbs by a nurse practitioner or rehabilitative worker. Some exercise devices provide for an unattractive motorized movement of the muscle groups. Motorized rehabilitative apparatus are usually designed for adults and are not made to attract children by simulating a child's toy tricycle. It is an object of this invention to provide a rehabilitative motorized exercise apparatus that is attractive to children.

One type of child's exercise apparatus is disclosed in the 1989 Patent issued to Mendel, U.S. Pat. No. 4,863,157. The Mendel exercise apparatus discloses an attractive child's tricycle. However, the Mendel device is used to exercise the arms of the child. An electrical stimulation from a battery is provided to the patient who is sitting on a tricycle. Although Mendel does provide electrical stimulation to a paralyzed limb, it would be beneficial to have an attractive child's tricycle that would move both of the patient's legs by a motorized force. The movement of a patient's paralyzed legs by an electric motor exercises the legs and tones the leg muscles. Exercising the legs keeps the leg muscles from becoming atrophied. It is an object of this invention to provide an electrically operated tricycle for exercising a paralyzed child's legs.

Another device found in the prior art is the 2003 US Patent Application filed by Pyle. This Patent Application Publication discloses an exercise device having a power source 16 that drives pedals. The Pyle exercise device is designed to stimulate the legs of disabled children. One drawback of the Pyle device is that it is not similar in appearance to an attractive child's tricycle. Another drawback of the Pyle device is that the seat is rigid and the length between the seat and pedals is fixed. It is an object of this invention to provide an adjustable seat for an exercise tricycle that adjusts to different heights and widths of a child. In particular, it is an object of this invention to provide a seat that will keep a child in place. It is a still further object of this invention to provide length adjustments for a child's legs and width adjustments for a child's feet and hips such that the device is comfortable for a child exercising and is also capable of keeping the child's legs, knees and hips in proper alignment.

Another motorized stationary bike for lower body rehabilitation is disclosed in the 2004 Patent issued to Sze. The Sze Patent, U.S. Pat. No. 6,740,010, describes a motorized stationary bike. The motor is connected to a drive a shaft and the driveshaft is coupled to a worm gear by a coupler. This direct drive of the pedals eliminates lengthy chains or other devices that may become entangled in the patients' limbs. One drawback of the Sze device is that the patient must be capable of riding on a small seat 26. Sze does not provide for an adjustable seat that keeps the child in place. In addition, Sze does not have adjustable pedals to accommodate the growth of a child. It a still further object of this invention to provide an adjustable seat for a child's motorized exercise tricycle which keeps the child in place and keeps the child's body aligned with the mechanism to ensure effective and comfortable use of the exercise device.

It is a prime object of this invention to provide an adjustable seat with a side support to enable a child to exercise while sitting upright with his or her back against the back of the seat and a side support to avoid slumping. It is a further object of this invention to provide a child's exercise tricycle with a seat design that keeps the hips, knees, legs and ankles in alignment during the exercise to avoid injury and enhance the exercise session. It is a still further object of this invention to provide adjustable pedals to fit the width of a child's hips so that the child's legs stay inline with the hips to avoid strain on the ankles, hips or knees.

Other and further objects of this adjustable tricycle will become apparent upon reading the below described specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DEVICE

A motorized child's exercise tricycle is presented which is adjustable to allow the exercise tricycle to grow as the child grows. An expandable chassis allows the distance between the seat and the pedals to be adjusted. A special seat is designed that is tapered downwardly and outwardly from the child's body. The adjustable seat, that includes a seatbelt, keeps the child sitting upright with his or back against the back of the seat. The side support of the specially designed back supports the child to avoid slumping. The back support of the seat and the specially designed lower seat keep the child's hips, knees, legs and ankles in alignment. Adjustable pedals are provided in this device to allow the distance between the pedals to be widened to conform to the width of the child's hips so that the hips and legs stay inline. The tricycle also has handlebars that are adjustable up or down. The specially designed seat may also be adjusted up or down to conform the dimensions of the tricycle to the patient's size.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the Passive Child Therapy Tricycle.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the front end of the tricycle showing the adjustable pedals and electric motor.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the specially designed seat.

FIG. 4 is a side cross section of the specially designed seat shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the specially designed seat showing the seatbelt apparatus.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the specially designed seat shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the tricycle showing the three main parts when detached.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the adjustable seat support bracket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A Passive Child Therapy Tricycle with a specially designed adjustable seat is best shown in FIG. 1. The tricycle has a front lower frame base 1 in place of the front wheel of a regular tricycle. The child's tricycle also has two rear wheels 2 which are connected by an axle 42. Connected to the rear axle 42 is an adjustable cross bar frame chassis 3. This adjustable frame chassis may be lengthened as described later to adjust the distance between the seat and pedals to the particular patient's size. One major improvement disclosed in this application is the ability of the caregiver to adjust the tricycle for different size patients and to adjust the tricycle as an individual patient grows.

The adjustable chassis 3 consists of an essentially elongated S-shaped piece 4. This S-shaped front piece 4 fits into a female cross bar frame rear piece 5. The female rear piece 5 is attached to the wheel axle 42. A cross bar collar 6 and a tightening handle and pin 7 allow the front male piece and the rear female piece to be lengthened and secured. The tightening handle may be grooved to lock the handle tightly. A plurality of cross bar front piece adjusting holes 8 are used in conjunction with the tightening handle and rod 7 to adjust the length of the tricycle. To adjust the length of the chassis 3, one simply aligns the appropriate holes 8 with the hole in the collar 6, inserts the pin through the corresponding holes and tightens the handle and pin 7.

In addition to the horizontal adjustment of the length of the tricycle, vertical adjustments of the handle bar and seat are also provided. A female handle bar vertical support 9 is located at the front of the tricycle near the motor and is attached to the front of the S-shaped piece 4. Inside the hollow vertical support 9 is a permanently affixed central support 44. This hollow female handle bar support 9 and central rod 44 are adapted to receive a vertical handle bar adjusting shaft 10. The handlebar shaft 10 slides inside the vertical support 9 and slides over the central vertical handlebar support 44.

Attached to the top of the vertical handle bar adjusting shaft 10 are the handlebars 11. The handlebars are vertically adjustable utilizing the handle bar adjusting clamp 12. This clamp 12 may be a C-ring with a bolt and tightening nut. The C-ring is placed around the handlebar shaft 10 at an appropriate location along the shaft and above the top of the vertical support 9 to allow adjustment of the vertical height of the handlebars.

Located on the bottom of the vertical handle bar support 9 is an electrical apparatus motor box 13. This motor box includes the motor and wiring for the device. A power switch and speed adjustment knob 14 is located at the front of the motor box 13. The knob is located in the forward position so that the child patient cannot reach the knob to adjust the speed when the child patient is using the tricycle. Since the knob 14 is not in reach of the child the caregiver operates the device. This is an added safety feature to protect the child patient during the exercise regimen.

An electric motor 15 directly drives the pedal axle 16 as best shown in FIG. 2. This may be accomplished using a worm gear system such as that disclosed in the Sze Patent. The pedal shaft 16 is adjustable so that the distance between the two removable pedal shoes 19 maybe lengthened or shortened depending on the width of the patient child's hips. The pedal shaft-adjusting collar 41 accomplishes this. In order to adjust the width of the pedal, the collar maybe be loosened and the pedal shaft 16 may be lengthened or shortened as required. When the collar 41 properly adjusts the length of the pedal shaft 16, the shoes 19 are approximately the same distance apart as the child's hips. Adjusting the pedals to fit the width of the child's hips allows the child's legs to stay inline with the hips. The proper alignment of the child patient's hips and legs avoids strain on the child patient's ankles, hips and knees.

The pedals 17 are attached to the irregularly shaped pedal shaft 16. The pedals 17 have a strip of Velcro™ hook-and-pile fasteners attached to each pedal. Each pedal then has a removable pedal shoe 19, attached by corresponding Velcro™ strips. The shoes 19 are shaped generally in the shape of an open-toed shoe or sandal as best shown in FIG. 2. The front of the shoe 19 is open. In use, the child patient's feet are placed in the shoes 19 and then strapped in place by pedal shoe securing straps 21. Fastening the shoe 19 and straps 21 allows the caregiver to insure that the child patient's feet remain within the pedal area for adequate, safe and proper exercise.

A separating pin 18 is inserted through the vertical handle bar female support 9 and the central shaft 44 to secure the three main components of the tricycle together. When the separating pin 44 is removed, the front base 1, pedals, electric motor box 13 and motor 15 may be disassembled from the device for easy transportation and storage. The disassembly procedure separates the tricycle into three discreet units, a lower front section including a motor connected to the pedal shaft and pedals, a handlebar section adjustably and removably attached to the lower front section and a rear seat section horizontally adjustably attached to the front lower section having a curved back section and a horizontal seat section. This disassembly procedure is best shown in FIG. 7.

Turning now to FIG. 4, the adjustable seat is shown and described. This adjustable seat 22 is comprised of two main parts, a curved vertical back support 23 and a bottom horizontal irregularly shaped seat 24. The seat is made of foam and is shaped in a particular manner for use as a therapeutic child's exercise device.

The seat 22 has a vertical rounded back support 23. This vertical rounded back support 23 supports the child's back during the exercise process. A seat back brace vertical rod 25 is permanently attached to the axle 42. This vertical rod 25 supports the curved back support 23. Attached to the rear of the back support 23 is a back support outer rod 43. This outer rod 43 slides over the vertical rod 25 and is secured in place by the vertical rod-adjusting piece 26. This adjusting piece 26 may be a simple C-clamp as shown in drawing FIGS. 1 and 7. The height of the vertical back support 23 may be adjusted by loosing the adjusting piece C-clamp 26 and adjusting the height of the back support 23 as desired to accommodate the height the of child patient.

The bottom horizontal specially designed seat 24 is separate from the back support 23. The lower horizontal seat 24 may be adjusted to accommodate the child general size, form and configuration. Attached to the female rear piece 5 is an oblique seat support 27, as best shown on FIG. 1. Attached to this oblique seat support 27 is a vertical adjusting bracket 28, as best shown on FIG. 8. This seat-adjusting bracket 28 has a flat upper surface and an inner channel. Sliding inside this inner channel is the horizontal seat adjusting rod 30 and supporting block 29. Vertical adjusting holes 31, located vertically in rod 30 are used to adjust the vertical height of the horizontal seat 24. The vertical adjusting holes 31 allow the caregiver to adjust the vertical height of the lower horizontal seat 24. A simple pin 45 may be inserted through the rod 30 when the appropriate holes are aligned to hold the seat in place and adjust the vertical height of the lower seat 24.

It is a major problem in this particular exercise field to keep the child, whose leg muscles are impaired, in proper position for the exercise session. In order to keep the child's body and legs properly aligned in the instant invention, the height of the seat is adjusted to the child. In addition, the width of the pedals is adjusted so that the child's feet and hips are kept in alignment. In addition, the chassis itself may be lengthened or shortened and the horizontal seat 24 may be moved upward or downward to approximate to the dimensions of the child utilizing the device. However, a major problem with the prior art devices is that the child tends to slump in the prior arts seats (particular the prior art shown in Sze). A unique lower horizontal seat 24 has been devised which greatly enhances the usefulness of the instant child's exercise tricycle.

As best shown in FIGS. 3-6 various design improvements over the prior art seats have been incorporated into this new invention. Seatbelt slots 32 are provided in the vertical back section 23 of the seat 22. A seatbelt 33 is then installed in the vertical seat back 23 to enable the caregiver to secure the child into the seat of the motorized exercise tricycle.

Another improvement in the prior art of exercise devices is disclosed in the drawing figures, particularly drawing FIGS. 3 and 5. The specially designed horizontal seat 24 has an upper central body crown 34. This crown 34 tapers downwardly and outwardly. The upper body crown 34 tapers downwardly and outwardly to tapered downwardly left side 35 and tapered downwardly right side 35′ and is tapered downwardly and outwardly towards the front and back. Both of these sides 35 and 35′ and the front 39 and back 46 of the lower seat taper downwardly and outwardly as shown in the drawing figures. The tapers create a central upper horizontal seat body crown 34 in the approximate center of the lower horizontal seat 24.

A child with low lower limb movement or no lower limb movement usually cannot tell if they are slipping and cannot correct this slipping in any event. The specially designed lower horizontal seat disclosed keeps the child's legs separated so that the child will not slide down the seat towards the pedals. The vertical crown portion of the seat along with the seat belt also keeps the child from slumping or moving out of alignment with the exercise tricycle device. By providing the curved vertical back support 23 with the seatbelt 33 and the specially contoured lower horizontal seat 24, the child is kept in correct position for “riding’ the tricycle and exercising the limbs.

The lower horizontal seat 22 is made of foam and braced with metal. It has a contour such that a crown 34 is created. The seat upper body crown 34 tapers downwardly and outwardly such that a comfortable yet functional horizontal seat is provided which keeps the child's torso in place and supports the child's legs.

The various adjustments of the tricycle described herein create a motorized child's exercise tricycle that is adapted to the unique needs of a child having low or no lower limb movement. The child's tricycle design of the device makes it attractive to children. The special seat design allows the caregiver to ensure that the child keeps sitting upright with his or her back against the vertical support. The special design of the lower horizontal seat insures that the child does not slump. It also insures that the child's hips, knees, legs and ankles are kept in alignment. This eliminates discomfort and helps to avoid injury.

The back end 46 of the lower horizontal seat 24 will not extent past the vertical back support 24. The adjustability of the vertical 23 and horizontal 24 parts of the seat 22 enable the device to be used by different sized children or by one child as he or she grows and increases in size.

One advantage over most of the prior art in this device is that there is no chain or sprocket extending from the motor to move the pedals since the pedals are attached directly to the motors. Since there are fewer moving parts, chains or sprockets, this device contains few mechanical complications and has been found to be quite reliable. The adjustability of the length of the chassis and the height of the seat and handle bars allows the to be universally useful and adaptable for different types of children or for the same child as he or she grows.

DISCUSSIONS OF THE REFERRENCES

Reference A: Mendel (U.S. Pat. No. 4,863,157)

The Mendel device discloses a method and apparatus for exercising a paralyzed limb. Mendel includes the electrical stimulation of a paralyzed muscle in response to a continuous movement of an uninvolved limb. Mendel is of interest since it discloses an attractive tricycle design for a child. However, Mendel does not disclose the seat adjustments or the various aspects of the instant invention for keeping the child in an upright position and keeping the child's legs, ankles and knees aligned with the width of the pedals. Mendel is of general interest to the field since it discloses a child's tricycle for use in the exercise art

Reference B: Pyle (Patent Publication # 2,003/0045402A1)

Pyle discloses an exercise device having a power source 16. The Pyle device is shaped in the form of a sled, not a child's tricycle. While Pyle does disclose the use of seatbelts, his vertical seat is not adjustable in height. In addition, the horizontal seat of Pyle does not have the special contour to keep the child from sliding forward or slumping in the seat. Additionally, Pyle does not have adjustable pedals that may be personalized to the child's patient hip width.

Reference C: Sze (U.S. Pat. No. 6,740,010)

Sze disclosed a motorized stationary bike in the form of an ordinary exercise bicycle used in the fitness industry. The Sze motor is connected to the drive shaft and coupled to the pedals by a worm gear as in the instant device. However, the Sze seat is quite precarious for a paralyzed or impaired rider and would be unsuitable for a child or an adult having low or no use of their lower limbs. Sze does not disclose a vertical back support or a specially contoured seat for keeping the child on the exercise apparatus. Sze also does not disclose the adjustability of the pedals or the vertical adjustability of the handlebars. Sze is not adjustable in length or height to suit a child's growth patterns or to accommodate children of different sizes.