Title:
Portable, compacting travel footrest
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A footrest for airplane passengers includes a platform and a number of supporting legs, at least some of which contain springs or resilient members so that when the legs are deployed the passenger can exercise his feet and legs by pressing down on the platform. The legs can be folded or otherwise collapsed against the platform when the device is not in use.



Inventors:
Sardana, Arun (North Potomac, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/198895
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
08/05/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/423.39, 297/423.43, 297/423.44, 297/423.45, 297/423.46, 297/423.14
International Classes:
A47C7/50; A47C16/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WHITE, RODNEY BARNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHOEMAKER AND MATTARE, LTD (CONCORD, NH, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A collapsible leg-exercising footrest, the footrest comprising, a platform, and a plurality of legs for supporting the platform, at least some of said legs comprising a compressible element so that when one presses on the platform with one's feet the legs change in length and provide resistance against the force applied with the feet, said legs having a deployed position and a collapsed position within or against the platform.

2. The invention of claim 1, wherein the compressible element is a spring and the leg has two telescoping portions, one at either end of the spring.

3. The invention of claim 1, wherein the compressible element is a pneumatic chamber and the leg has two telescoping portions, one at either end of the pneumatic chamber.

4. The invention of claim 1, wherein at least some of the legs can be detached from the platform and stored within cavities in the platform.

5. The invention of claim 1, wherein at least some of the legs have a hinged connection with the platform and can be folded flush against the platform.

6. The invention of claim 1, wherein the platform comprises plural pieces.

7. The invention of claim 6, wherein the plural pieces are interconnected by tongue and groove connections.

8. The invention of claim 7, further comprising means for locking the plural pieces in their assembled condition.

9. The invention of claim 6, wherein the plural pieces are connected by hinges.

10. The invention of claim 1, wherein at least some of the legs have a hinged connection to the platform and further comprising, a brace for locking the hinged legs in their deployed position.

Description:

This application claims benefit of U.S. application No. 60/598848, filed Aug. 5, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An average aircraft seat is only 17 inches wide and has only about 32 inches of “pitch” or distance between the back of the seat facing the passenger and the back of the seat in which the passenger is seated. Such cramped configuration has concerned travelers and health practitioners alike. An estimated 30,000 people a year could develop dangerous lower leg blood clots, commonly referred to as “economy class syndrome,” as a result of sitting in cramped conditions for more than five hours.

To avoid “economy class syndrome,” health specialists suggest exercising the legs. Such may be achieved with, for example, an exercise footrest. However, while redesigns may be possible, airline seats have been largely unchanged for the last 25 years due to elaborate safety certification processes related to issues and costs. Thus, redesigning airline passenger seating to allow for more leg room and include health-safety features, such as footrests, is not foreseeable. While comforts and luxuries are increasingly available for first- and premium-class passengers, economy class passengers are likely to be left with the cramped spaces that are not only uncomfortable but also can pose serious health hazards.

Additionally, as technology pervades home and work lives, people increasingly travel with laptops and other devices that they operate from their “laps” at airports, rail stations, make-shift offices, homes etc. Sitting in a chair for long periods of time can cause back and other problems. These problems may be avoided, but at considerable expense or encumbrance.

What is needed is a portable footrest that helps alleviate pressure on the lower back by raising the level of the knees to reduce back strain, muscle fatigue and injury, and to allow for better circulation of blood in the lower legs. While such may not be a “medical solution” and does not guarantee prevention against potential health hazards from traveling in cramped positions, it is widely regarded as a practical solution by medical practitioners and health experts alike because a portable footrest can help prevent and/or reduce back and lower leg conditions, including stress injuries and blood clots in the lower legs, that may develop due to travel in cramped spaces and/or due to poor posture when working in a seated position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a portable travel footrest with which a traveler may exercise while seated in a plane or other cramped conditions and avoid uncomfortable and dangerous lower leg conditions.

An object of this invention is to provide a device that enables airline passengers to exercise the legs while seated.

Another invention is to make such a device collapsible so that it can be carried and stored conveniently.

These and other objects of the invention are satisfied by the collapsible footrest described below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described in detail below with reference to the following figures, throughout which similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, from below, of an embodiment of a footrest constructed according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged detail of a portion of the footrest;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a modified form of the footrest;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation thereof;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 5, wherein the platform is partially folded;

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 5, wherein the platform is almost entirely folded;

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, wherein the platform is folded to define a closed position;

FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of one panel of the platform of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of a platform of another embodiment of a footrest constructed according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a similar view of the embodiment of FIG. 9, partially assembled;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a platform of another embodiment of a footrest constructed according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 12 is perspective view of another embodiment of a footrest constructed according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 13 is a bottom elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 12, partially collapsed;

FIG. 14 is a bottom elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 12, entirely collapsed;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a platform of another embodiment of a footrest constructed according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 16 shows a leg assembly of another embodiment of a footrest constructed according to principles of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A footrest embodying the invention includes a platform mounted on a nearer pair of non-resilient legs and a longer farther pair of resilient legs.

FIGS. 1-4 show a first embodiment of the footrest 100 includes a platform 105 from which extends a nearer pair of non-resilient detachable legs 110 and a longer farther pair of resilient detachable legs 115. The footrest 100 provides for raising and inclining a user's feet and exercising same with a back-and-forth motion.

The legs 110, 115 shown in FIGS. 1-4 are detachably connectable to the platform 105 via threaded, snap-in-snap-out, velcro® or other fasteners 116. The legs 110, 115 also may be permanently attached to fixed positions on the platform 105 so as to collapse and fold under the platform 105 through a release or hinge mechanism. In that case, in the collapsed position, the legs 110, 115 lie flush with the platform 105. The platform 105 may have deep grooves (not shown) for receiving each leg 110, 115 so that the legs 110, 115, when collapsed, rest inside such a groove. The legs 110, 115 then may be secured by a fastening clip (not shown) or other device that does not allow the legs to fall out once collapsed inside a groove.

The legs 110, 115 are sized and configured to position the platform above ground level at an incline or angle so that the front edge 130 is nearer to the user's feet and to the ground and the back edge 135 is farther to the user's feet and higher than the front edge 130. Thus, when resting on the platform, the heel or heels of the user's foot or feet will be closer to the ground and the toes will be higher than the heel(s) in a naturally inclined position when the user's legs are extended outwardly and away from the body.

When attached, the legs 110 may define a 90° angle, or other angle, relative to a surface on which the footrest is disposed. Consequently, the legs 110 are not square to, but define a predetermined angle 140 relative to the platform 105.

The legs 115 define a 90° angle, or other angle, relative to the platform 105. Consequently, the legs 115 are not square to, but define a predetermined angle 145 relative to a surface on which the footrest is disposed.

The lengths of the legs 110, 115 are adjustable. Adjustment may be achieved through incorporating telescoping, threading or other mechanisms (not shown).

Each leg 110, 115 has anti-skid material for contacting a supporting surface or floor. The anti-skid material may be selected from rubber, felt, plastic, metal, wood or other materials that would prevent the footrest 100 from skidding on a surface on which it is placed.

The legs 115 each include a spring mechanism 117 (FIG. 2) that allows for repeated telescoping motion commensurate with back-and-forth movement of the feet alternately applying and releasing moderate pressure on the platform 105. The spring mechanism may be effectuated with pneumatic systems, hydraulic systems or other systems that allow for reciprocal foot/feet movement. This “exercise” feature is a common thread in all embodiments of footrests constructed according to this invention.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the platform 105 is constructed from plastics, wood, polymer, metal, resin, leather, fabric or other man-made or natural material that can function as the platform. The platform 105 is foldable along one or more vertical or horizontal joints 120, defining a plurality of panels 123. When open, each joint 120 or foldable or collapsible part of the platform 105 is supported by latches 125 or lock or lock-like mechanisms to hold all joined panels 123 of the platform 105 together in a substantially planar manner.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, the footrest 100 may be collapsed and stored for easy transportation. The user detaches and sets aside the legs 110, 115 from the platform 105. The user then unlatches the latches 125, and folds the panels 123 along the joints 120, progressively defining the partially closed position of FIG. 5, the nearly closed position of FIG. 6 and the closed position of FIG. 7.

Referring to FIG. 8, the panels 123 may have shafts 150 or throughbores sized and configured for receiving and storing at least one of the legs 110, 115. The legs 110, 115 and/or shafts 150 are configured so that the legs 110, 115 are removably retained in the shafts 150. That is, a user may securely store the legs 110, 115 in the shafts 150 when not needed, yet remove the legs from the shafts 150 as needed. If the platform 105 has no shafts 150, the legs 110, 115 may be stored separately in a carry case (not shown) or bag.

The footrest 100, when fully assembled and operational, fits under most airline seats in front of the passenger using the footrest. When folded for portability, the footrest 100 fits into most travel bags, hand bags, computer cases or in a specially designed carrying case or bag.

Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, another embodiment of a platform 205 constructed according to the invention includes a plurality of panels 223 that interconnect via conventional tongue and groove structures. For example, the panel 223a has a groove 250 sized and configured to receive a tongue 255 extending from the panel 223b.

Referring to FIG. 11, another embodiment of a platform 405 constructed according to the invention combines features of the previous embodiments. The platform 405 includes hinged pairs of panels 423a,b and 423c,d that interconnect via tongue and groove structures. The latches 425 hold each pair of joined panels 423a,b or 423c,d together in a substantially planar manner.

Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, another embodiment of a footrest 500 constructed according to the invention includes a platform 505 having a hinge 520 running vertically from the front edge 530 to the back edge 535. Arms 560 extend from each corner of the front edge 530 and define an acute angle 565 relative to the platform 505. The legs 515 extend from back edge 535 of the platform 505 so that, when deployed in an open position as shown in FIG. 12, the legs 515 rest against a supporting surface and define a right or obtuse angle relative to the platform 505. The legs 515 each contain a spring mechanism (not shown) that allows for repeated telescoping motion commensurate with the back-and-forth movement of the feet alternately applying and releasing moderate pressure on the platform 505.

The arms 560 and legs 515 are collapsible and fold parallel to and flush against the underside of the platform 505. A clasp 575 or locking arrangement holds the arms 560 and legs 515 in a locked position, as shown in FIG. 13. Once locked, the platform 505 can be folded along the hinge 520 for further compactness and enhanced portability, as shown in FIG. 14. When the platform is open, as in FIG. 12, the user's feet can rest on or cyclically push against the platform 505, applying then releasing pressure, allowing the spring mechanism 570 in the legs 515 to restore the platform 505 and the user's feet back to the original position.

Referring to FIG. 15, another embodiment of a platform 605 constructed according to the invention includes telescopingly nestable panels 623. The panels 623 are constructed of composite plastic, polymer, metal, rubber, wood or other hard material, with or without coatings or coverings. The panel 623c has a slot sized and configured to receive a panel 623b, which has a slot sized and configured to receive a panel 623a. When collapsed, the platform 605 is reduced to a fraction of its size compared to when completely open.

Referring to FIG. 16, another embodiment constructed according to the invention includes a leg assembly 700 including integral or detachable non-resilient legs 710 and longer resilient legs 715 that are joined with connecting levers 775. The levers 775 can open and spread the legs 710, 715 apart or fold them together like a tripod stand.

Common design features in the embodiments described herein relate to: (1) compactness, for making the device truly portable through compacting the entire structure to some fraction of its operational size; and (2) the use of the device for exercise, involving built-in resilient mechanisms.

The invention provides for a carry case or carry bag for receiving and transporting any collapsed footrest embodiment described herein.