Title:
ARTICLES FOR PROVIDING HEATING AND COOLING BENEFIT TO A PERSON
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Articles that provide heating and/or cooling for wearers of various types of wearing apparel are disclosed. The articles comprise removable inserts for wearing apparel that are activated by exposure to air or breaking an internal bag of the insert and shaking the inserts to provide single use disposable inserts. The disposable inserts provide heating or cooling for an extended period of time. A reusable insert is disclosed that is activated by heating or by refrigeration to provide either heating or cooling. Heating or cooling is provided by wearing apparel comprising at least one chamber for a compressed gas cylinder. The chamber may be recharged as needed to provide continuous heating or cooling of a person's head or various parts of a person's body. In one embodiment, the articles comprise a length of tubing extending along at least a portion of the wearing apparel and an aperture for the release of gas from a compressed gas cylinder into the tubing. The wearing apparel may be recharged as needed to provide continuous heating or cooling of various parts of a person's head or various parts of a person's body.



Inventors:
Shows, Michael D. (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/277191
Publication Date:
07/20/2006
Filing Date:
03/22/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/00; A43B7/08; A43B17/08; A61F7/02; A61F7/10
View Patent Images:
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20080178359Pad wearable over articulated jointJuly, 2008Grilliot et al.
20030014806Stroke-counting and multifunctional golf gloveJanuary, 2003Canion
20070044206Hearing protective earmuff device having frictionally engageable ear cupsMarch, 2007Sato et al.
20080196140Thermoregulated Recreational GarmentAugust, 2008Mayerson et al.
20070204383Towel scarfSeptember, 2007Hunt
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEISS & MOY, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A temperature altering article for wearing apparel comprising, in combination: a wearing apparel product; a first chamber and a second chamber on the wearing apparel product, wherein the first chamber is located proximate a first portion of the wearer's body and the second chamber is located proximate a second portion of the wearer's body; a first self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the first insert is adapted to be received in the first chamber; means located on the first insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the first portion of the wearer's body; a second self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the second insert is adapted to be received in the second chamber; and means located on the second insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the second portion of the wearer's body.

2. The temperature altering article of claim 1 wherein each of the first insert and the second insert contains one of a reactive core and an internal bag, wherein the reactive core provides warming of the insert when the insert is exposed to air and wherein the internal bag provides cooling when the internal bag of the insert is broken and the insert is shaken.

3. The temperature altering article of claim 1 wherein each of the first insert and the second insert contains a fluid having a high heat capacity that provides warming of the insert when the insert is heated by an exterior heating source and which provides cooling of the insert when the insert is cooled by an exterior cooling source.

4. The temperature altering article of claim 1 wherein the one of heating and cooling means comprises a compressed gas cylinder containing one of a heating and cooling gas.

5. The temperature altering article of claim 4 further comprising a valve system for retaining the one of heating and cooling gas in the insert when the compressed gas cylinder is withdrawn.

6. The temperature altering article of claim 4 further comprising a spike for piercing the compressed gas cylinder to release the one of heating and cooling gas.

7. The temperature altering article of claim 1 wherein the wearing apparel product is one of a jumpsuit, hat, helmet, sock, firefighter suit, and military combat suit.

8. A temperature altering article for wearing apparel comprising, in combination: a first wearing apparel product; a first chamber on the first wearing apparel product, wherein the first chamber is located proximate a first portion of the wearer's body; a second wearing apparel product; a second chamber on the second wearing apparel product, wherein the second chamber is located proximate a second portion of the wearer's body; a first self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the first insert is adapted to be received in the first chamber; means located on the first insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the first portion of the wearer's body; a second self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the second insert is adapted to be received in the second chamber; and means located on the second insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the second portion of the wearer's body.

9. The temperature altering article of claim 8 wherein the each of the first insert and the second insert contains one of a reactive core and an internal bag, wherein the reactive core provides warming of the insert when the insert is exposed to air and wherein the internal bag provides cooling when the internal bag of the insert is broken and the insert is shaken.

10. The temperature altering article of claim 8 wherein each of the first insert and the second insert contains a fluid having a high heat capacity that provides warming of the insert when the insert is heated by an exterior heating source and which provides cooling of the insert when the insert is cooled by an exterior cooling source.

11. The temperature altering article of claim 8 wherein the one of heating and cooling means comprises a compressed gas cylinder containing one of a heating and cooling gas.

12. The temperature altering article of claim 11 further comprising a valve system for retaining the one of heating and cooling gas in the insert when the compressed gas cylinder is withdrawn.

13. The temperature altering article of claim 11 further comprising a spike for piercing the compressed gas cylinder to release the one of heating and cooling gas.

14. The temperature altering article of claim 8 wherein the first wearing apparel product is one of a jumpsuit, hat, helmet, sock, firefighter suit, and military combat suit and the second wearing apparel product is another of a jumpsuit, hat, helmet, sock, firefighter suit, and military combat suit.

15. A temperature altering article for wearing apparel comprising, in combination: a wearing apparel product; a length of tubing extending along a portion of an interior of the wearing apparel product; and a source of a gas fluid adapted to be introduced into the tubing and adapted to be activated by a person for internally altering a temperature of the wearing apparel product.

16. The temperature altering article of claim 15 wherein the gas fluid is a cooling gas fluid to thereby internally cool the wearing apparel product and cool at least a portion of the wearer's body.

17. The temperature altering article of claim 15 wherein the gas fluid is a heating gas fluid to thereby internally heat the wearing apparel product and heat at least a portion of the wearer's body.

18. The temperature altering article of claim 15 wherein the length of tubing defines a plurality of weep holes for dispersing the gas fluid toward an inner portion of the wearing apparel product.

19. The temperature altering article of claim 15 wherein the source of a gas fluid comprises a compressed gas cylinder.

20. The temperature altering article of claim 19 further comprising a spike for piercing the compressed gas cylinder to release the gas fluid into the tubing.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from and is a continuation in part of copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/637,232, filed on Aug. 11, 2003. In addition, this application claims priority from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/339,886 filed on Jan. 26, 2006, and from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/364,281 filed on Feb. 28, 2006 in the name of the applicant of this application.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to articles and methods for providing heating and cooling benefit to a person, whether for pain-relief purposes or otherwise and, more particularly, to articles that provide heating and/or cooling when positioned in wearing apparel on a wearer thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various forms of heating and cooling methods are commonly used to provide pain-relief or other benefit for various parts of a person's body. In the past, numerous articles have been used for such purposes, such as ice packs, gel packs, heating pads, wraps, and the like. Typically, such articles are used by positioning them over a part of the body where the heating and/or cooling is needed. Limitations exist with such prior art devices. For example, many of them require the user to either remain stationary while using the device or to hold the device in place, so as to keep the device in position while pain-relief is being provided. As a further example, some of the prior art devices, such as electronic heating pads, may require the use of an electrical outlet. These limitations are a disadvantage for users of the heating/cooling articles who have a need or desire to be physically active while using such articles.

A need therefore exists for articles that provide heating and/or cooling to the head and/or body, that can be positioned in and removed from various types of wearing apparel.

The present invention satisfies these needs and provides other, related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a temperature altering article for wearing apparel is disclosed. The article comprises, in combination: a wearing apparel product; a first chamber and a second chamber on the wearing apparel product, wherein the first chamber is located proximate a first portion of the wearer's body and the second chamber is located proximate a second portion of the wearer's body; a first self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the first insert is adapted to be received in the first chamber; means located on the first insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the first portion of the wearer's body; a second self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the second insert is adapted to be received in the second chamber; and means located on the second insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the second portion of the wearer's body.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a temperature altering article for wearing apparel is disclosed. The article comprises, in combination: a first wearing apparel product; a first chamber on the first wearing apparel product, wherein the first chamber is located proximate a first portion of the wearer's body; a second wearing apparel product; a second chamber on the second wearing apparel product, wherein the second chamber is located proximate a second portion of the wearer's body; a first self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the first insert is adapted to be received in the first chamber; means located on the first insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the first portion of the wearer's body; a second self-contained and removable insert providing one of heating and cooling; wherein the second insert is adapted to be received in the second chamber; and means located on the second insert for causing it to provide one of heating and cooling to the second portion of the wearer's body.

In accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention, a temperature altering article for wearing apparel is disclosed. The article comprises, in combination: a wearing apparel product; a length of tubing coupled to and extending along a portion of an interior of the wearing apparel product; and a source of a gas fluid adapted to be introduced through an aperture in a portion of the wearing apparel product into the tubing and adapted to be activated by a person for internally altering a temperature of the wearing apparel product.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of wearing apparel consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1A is a front view of the wearing apparel of FIG. 1 showing interior pockets thereof, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B is a front view of the wearing apparel of FIG. 1 showing interior pockets containing removable inserts, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of a cap, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2A is a side perspective view of the cap of FIG. 2 showing a valve and valve spike device, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a removable insert for wearing apparel, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a valve spike device, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of a hat, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5A is a side perspective view of the hat of FIG. 5 showing a valve and valve spike device, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of a sports helmet, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A is a side perspective view of the sports helmet of FIG. 6 showing a valve and valve spike device, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side perspective view of a sock having an interior pocket with a removable insert, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7A is a side perspective view of the sock of FIG. 7 showing a valve and valve spike device, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of a military combat suit, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8A is a front perspective view of the military combat suit of FIG. 8 showing a length of tubing coupled thereto, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a side perspective view of a firefighter uniform, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9A is a side perspective view of the firefighter uniform of FIG. 9 showing interior pockets containing removable inserts, and showing a valve and valve spike device, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to FIGS. 1-1B, an embodiment of a heating/cooling article for wearing apparel 10, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. In this embodiment, the heating/cooling article 10 includes the following main components: a wearing apparel product 12 having a plurality of interior pockets 14 (as best seen in FIG. 1A) located thereon, into which a plurality of removable inserts 30 (as best seen in FIG. 1B) may be inserted. In this embodiment, the wearing apparel product 12 comprises a jumpsuit, but other forms of wearing apparel products could be used, including but not limited to shirts, jackets, pants, shorts, socks, stockings, hats, caps, helmets, headbands, wristbands, sweatbands, military apparel, wet suits, dive suits, firefighter uniforms, and the like. (A few examples of such embodiments are shown in FIGS. 2-2A and FIGS. 5-9A).

Preferably, the interior pockets 14 are positioned in such a manner that when the wearing apparel product 12 is worn, individual interior pockets 14 are situated over different areas of a person's body for which it may be desired to provide heating and/or cooling. In this embodiment, six interior pockets 14 are employed, but more or less pockets could be used, as desired, with pockets 14 being located over different body extremities. Also in this embodiment, the interior pockets 14 have a top opening 16 to allow the removable inserts 30 to be inserted. It may be desired to provide a closure at the top of the interior pockets 14, such as a zipper, button, snap, Velcro, or the like, to help secure the removable inserts 30 in place within the interior pockets 14.

Referring specifically to FIG. 1B, removable inserts 30 are inserted in the interior pockets 14. The removable insert 30 in this embodiment is substantially elongated, but other shapes could be used for the removable insert 30, in order to accommodate various forms of wearing apparel products, as best seen in FIGS. 2A, 5A, and 6A. As best seen in FIG. 3, in this embodiment, the removable insert 30 comprises an outer layer 32, a gas valve 34, and a valve system (not shown). The outer layer 32 encloses a gas that is released when the valve 34 of a compressed gas cylinder (not shown) contained within the insert 30 is pierced by a valve spike 40 (as best seen in FIG. 4 and in FIGS. 2A, 5A, 6A, 7A and 9A). The release of gas from the compressed gas cylinder results in cooling of the removable insert 30 which, in turn, results in cooling of a person wearing the wearing apparel product 12 containing the removable inserts 30. The valve system (not shown) prevents gas escaping from the removable insert 30 when the compressed gas cylinder is pierced by the valve spike 40 and also after the empty compressed gas cylinder is withdrawn. Another valve system (not shown) may be provided for exhausting the gas before refilling the removable insert 30 with the gas. Any gas that is non-flammable and non-toxic may be used, but carbon dioxide is a preferred gas in the compressed gas cylinder. It may be desired to couple a compressed gas cylinder to the wearing apparel product 12, or to other forms of wearing apparel products, including but not limited to shirts, jackets, pants, shorts, socks, stockings, hats, caps, helmets, headbands, wristbands, sweatbands, military apparel, wet suits, dive suits, firefighter uniforms, and the like.

Referring to FIG. 4, the valve spike 40 is preferably made of a durable material, such as metal or plastic. While the valve spike 40 is shown as being separate from the cylinder, the valve spike 40 could be located in an upper portion of a removable cap that can be inverted and placed in position, or there may be other means for accomplishing the piercing of the cylinder.

In another embodiment, the removable insert 30 comprises an outer layer 32 and an inner core (not shown), comprised of a reactive material, enclosed by the outer layer 32. The core is activated by exposing the removable insert 30 to air or by breaking an inner bag (not shown) of the removable insert 30 and shaking the removable insert 30. In one example, the core comprises a combination of iron powder, water, activated carbon, vermiculite, salt, wooden powder and PURGE™ natural mineral powder, obtainable as a product named BEYOND BODI HEAT® (made by Okamoto Industries Inc., Japan). When the removable insert 30 is exposed to air, the removable insert 30 heats up exothermically to maintain an average temperature of 104° F. for 12 hours. The removable insert 30, comprising BEYOND BODI HEAT® as the core, is disposed after use, but requires no outside source other than exposure to air to activate the product.

In another example, the core (not shown) comprises an inner bag (not shown) separating ammonium nitrate and water. On breaking the inner bag and shaking the removable insert 30, the ammonium nitrate dissolves in water, resulting in endothermic dissolution with resulting cooling of the mixture of ammonium nitrate and water. THERA-MED® (Thera-Med, Inc., Waco, Tex., U.S.A.) is an example of a commercially available ammonium nitrate based product. The removable insert 30, comprising THERA-MED® as the core, is disposed after use, but requires no outside source other than breaking the inner bag and shaking the removable insert 30 to activate the removable insert 30.

In yet another example, the core (not shown) comprises a gel pack (not shown). The removable insert 30 comprising the gel pack core may either be placed into a refrigerator for cooling or into a microwave oven for heating. TRU-FIT™ I.C.E./HEAT (distributed by BD™ Consumer Healthcare, Franklin Lakes, N.J., U.S.A.) is an example of a commercially available Gel Pack consisting essentially of a high heat capacity solution of a polyacrylamide in water. The removable insert 30, comprising TRU-FIT™ I.C.E./HEAT as the core is reusable but requires an outside source to activate the product.

The removable inserts 30 either cool or warm various parts of a person's body. A warming removable insert 30 may assist in easing muscle pain. In addition, a warming removable insert 30 may be of particular value to a person performing various activities, such as hiking, mountain climbing, playing sports, laboring, or the like, in a cold climate. A cooling removable insert 30 may also assist in easing muscle pain and/or treating swelling. In addition, a cooling removable insert 30 may be of particular value to, for example, a hiker, soldier, laborer, or athlete in a hot climate.

Referring now to FIGS. 8-8A, an embodiment of a heating/cooling article for wearing apparel 80, consistent with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. In this embodiment, the heating/cooling article 80 includes the following main components: a wearing apparel product 82 and a length of tubing 84 (shown in FIG. 8A) coupled thereto. Preferably, the tubing 84 is located on the interior surface of the wearing apparel product 82. It may be desired to couple the tubing 84 to the exterior of the wearing apparel product 82. In this embodiment, the tubing 84 branches out several times while passing throughout various areas of the wearing apparel product 82. It may be desired for the tubing 84 to form a loop. A gas valve 34 may be attached to the tubing. A heating/cooling gas may be released when the valve 34 of a compressed gas cylinder (not shown) is opened, or when a seal on the cylinder is pierced by a spike 40. The spike may be coupled to a portion of the tubing 84. In this embodiment, the wearing apparel product 82 comprises a military combat suit, but other forms of wearing apparel products could be used with the tubing 84, including but not limited to shirts, jackets, pants, shorts, socks, stockings, hats, caps, helmets, headbands, wristbands, sweatbands, jumpsuits, wet suits, dive suits, firefighter uniforms, and the like.

The release of gas from the compressed gas cylinder (not shown) results in heating or cooling of the wearing apparel product 82 which, in turn, results in cooling of a person wearing the wearing apparel product 82 containing the tubing 84. As shown in FIG. 8A, the tubing 84 preferably defines a plurality of weep holes 86 (or dispersion holes) for dispersing the gas toward the interior of the wearing apparel product 82. The weep holes 86 may be positioned at uniform angles along the tubing 84 or at alternative angles to allow for multidirectional dispersion of the gas within the interior of the wearing apparel product 82. The number of weep holes 86 may be increased or decreased as desired. It may be desired for the tubing 84 to not include any weep holes 86.

The wearing apparel product 82 may be recharged with the gas as needed to continue heating or cooling the wearing apparel product 82. Any gas that is non-flammable and non-toxic may be used, but carbon dioxide is a preferred gas in the compressed gas cylinder. It may be desired to couple a compressed gas cylinder to the wearing apparel product 82, or to other forms of wearing apparel products, including but not limited to shirts, jackets, pants, shorts, socks, stockings, hats, caps, helmets, headbands, wristbands, sweatbands, wet suits, dive suits, firefighter uniforms, and the like.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, instead of using interior pockets 14, it may be desired to position pockets on the exterior of a particular wearing apparel product 12. Also, it may be desired to provide within wearing apparel products such as shirts, jackets, pants, shorts, socks, stockings, hats, caps, helmets, headbands, wristbands, sweatbands, jumpsuits, wet suits, dive suits, firefighter uniforms, and the like) an empty chamber into which a heating/cooling gas may be inserted.