Title:
Flexible applicator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An applicator may include a stick that has a flexible section that is before an end region of the applicator and/or is formed by corrugations, and that may include a plurality of such sticks.



Inventors:
Grunberger, Aaron (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/038825
Publication Date:
07/20/2006
Filing Date:
01/19/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/144.1, 604/1
International Classes:
A47L13/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080168615Combined axially and radially loaded dirt excluderJuly, 2008Geelhoed
20100050350VARIABLE BELT TENSIONER FOR DRAIN CLEANING DEVICESMarch, 2010Babb et al.
20070151061Applicator brush with cylindrical ferrule and angled tipJuly, 2007Mink et al.
20080201879Foot cleaning deviceAugust, 2008Heidemeyer
20080109979TOOTHBRUSH FOR USE WITH AN ORTHODONTIC DEVICEMay, 2008Jo
20050175730Non-marking sealant toolAugust, 2005Belcher
20060196074Flat surface dryerSeptember, 2006Vilhunen
20060260084Squeegee for surface cleaningNovember, 2006Guizzi
20070028415Vacuum cleaner and a method of operating a vacuum cleanerFebruary, 2007Stein et al.
20090188062HAIR BRUSH WITH RETRACTABLE BRISTLESJuly, 2009Chudzik et al.
20090205152Refill for a Cleaning ImplementAugust, 2009Soller et al.



Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AARON GRUNBERGER (BROOKLYN, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An applicator, comprising: a stick including a corrugated section.

2. The applicator according to claim 1, wherein the corrugated section is arranged in a region of an end of the stick.

3. The applicator according to claim 1, wherein the corrugated section includes a plurality of corrugated sections arranged between a center and an end of the stick.

4. The applicator according to claim 3, wherein a first of the plurality of corrugated sections is longer than the remaining corrugated sections and is arranged in a region of the end.

5. The applicator according to claim 1, wherein the stick is a swab.

6. The applicator according to claim 1, further comprising: an absorbent material.

7. The applicator according to claim 6, wherein the absorbent material is arranged at a region of an end of the stick.

8. The applicator according to claim 7, wherein the absorbent material is arranged intermittently between a center of the stick and the end.

9. The applicator according to claim 8, wherein the corrugated section includes a plurality of corrugated sections, and the absorbent material is arranged over at least some of the plurality of corrugated sections.

10. The applicator according to claim 1, wherein the stick includes a plurality of sticks and an adjoining section, the plurality of sticks joined at the adjoining section.

11. The applicator according to claim 10, wherein features of a first of the plurality stick are different than features of a second of the plurality of sticks.

12. An applicator, comprising: a stick including: an end section; and a flexible section that is more flexible than the end section.

13. The applicator according to claim 12, wherein the stick includes a first material for the flexible section and a second material for the end section, an elasticity of the first material being more than an elasticity of the second material.

14. The applicator according to claim 13, wherein a section of the stick that is between a center of the stick and the flexible section includes the second material.

15. The applicator according to claim 13, wherein the first material is rubber and the second material is paper.

16. The applicator according to claim 12, wherein the flexible section is a corrugated section.

17. An applicator, comprising: a plurality of adjoining sticks.

18. The applicator according to claim 17, wherein at least one of the sticks includes a flexible section.

19. The applicator according to claim 18, wherein the flexible section is a corrugated section.

20. The applicator according to claim 18, wherein a first of the plurality of sticks includes features that are different than features of a second of the plurality of sticks.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Applicators and/or swabs that have absorbent tips, for example of cotton, are well known. They are often used for example to apply topical medicines or makeup; or as a cleaning tool, for example to clean a person's ears.

Conventionally, the absorbent tips are at the ends of a single stick. One may grasp the stick and guide it for said application or cleaning. However, especially when used on contoured surfaces that include hard-to-reach places, it may be difficult to guide the swab to its intended destination.

To facilitate guidance of an applicator, e.g., a swab, in and/or to hard-to-reach places, it is conventional to provide a swab that includes a flexible material at its end. However, manufacturing costs of such swabs are high since at least two materials are required (aside from the absorbent material placed on the swab end for the absorbent tip). Furthermore, since the flexible material is at an end of the swab, the degree of the material's flexibility is limited since if a very flexible material is used, the swab may be deformed when applied to a surface at the user's intended destination, and the user may therefore be unable to apply a desired degree of pressure to the surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an applicator according to an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2a illustrates an applicator according to an example embodiment of the present invention that includes a corrugated section.

FIG. 2b illustrates an applicator according to an example embodiment of the present invention that includes a corrugated section in front of an end region.

FIG. 3 illustrates an applicator according to an example embodiment of the present invention that includes a plurality of sticks.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An applicator, e.g., a swab, may include at least one flexible section. The flexible section may be arranged to allow a user to precisely guide the applicator. In an embodiment of the present invention, the flexible section(s) may be arranged in front of an end of the applicator, e.g., between a proximal end and a distal end of the applicator. In an embodiment of the present invention, the applicator may include flexible section(s) formed by corrugations. The corrugated section(s) may be at the end(s) of the applicator or between the end(s) of the applicator.

FIG. 1 illustrates part of an example applicator according to an example embodiment of the present invention. The applicator may include a stick 1, e.g., a tubularly shaped stick. Between a center 2 and an end section 3 of the stick 1, the stick 1 may include a flexible section 4. The flexible section 4 may be more flexible than the end section 3. For example, the flexible section 4 may be made of a material that is more flexible than a material out of which the end section 3 is made. For example, the material out of which the end section 3 is made may be wood, plastic, polypropylene, or a hard paper, e.g., cardboard, and the material out of which the flexible section 4 is made may be rubber, nylon, or other conventional flexible material. The flexible section 4 may also be more flexible than a section 5 of the stick 1 that may extend, e.g., from the center 2 until the flexible section 4. For example, the flexible section 4 may be made of a material that is more flexible than a material out of which the section 5 is made. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the section 5 may be made of a material that has the same degree of flexibility as the material out of which the end section 3 is made. For example the section 5 and the end section 3 may be made out of the same material. In an embodiment of the present invention, the applicator may include an absorbent tip 6. For example, an absorbent material may be placed on the stick 1 to form the absorbent tip 6. In one example embodiment the absorbent material may extend over only all or a part of the end section 3, as illustrated in FIG. 1. Alternatively, it may also extend over other parts of the stick 1 (not shown). For example, it may extend over the end section 3 and the flexible section 4. In one example embodiment of the present invention, the end section 3 itself and/or the flexible section 4 themselves may be made out of an absorbent material to form the absorbent tip 6. In one example embodiment, the stick 1 may include two ends, such that the features of the stick 1 from the center 2 to each end section 3 are approximately identical.

According to one example embodiment of the present invention, the applicator may include a plurality of flexible sections 4 arranged intermittently between the center 2 and the end section 3. The plurality of flexible sections 4 may be more flexible than the rest of the sections of the stick 1.

In one example embodiment, a first flexible section 4 of the plurality of flexible sections 4 may be more flexible than the rest of the plurality of flexible sections 4. For example, in one embodiment, the first flexible section 4 may be longer than the other flexible sections 4. In another embodiment, the flexible section 4 may be made of a material that has a higher degree of elasticity than a material or materials out of which the other flexible sections 4 are made. The first flexible section 4 may be arranged, e.g., immediately in front of the end section 3.

In one example embodiment of the present invention, the degree of flexibility of each of or a number of the plurality of flexible sections 4 may vary.

FIG. 2a illustrates a part of an example applicator according to an example embodiment of the present invention. A stick 1 may be made out of, e.g., paper, plastic, etc. The stick 1 may include a flexible section. The material out of which the flexible section is made may be the same as or different than that of other sections of the stick 1 that are not flexible. According to this embodiment, the flexible section may be a corrugated section 7. The corrugated section 7 may be at the end section 3, as illustrated in FIG. 2a. Alternatively, it may be in the same position as that of the flexible section 4 of FIG. 1, as illustrated in FIG. 2b. In one example embodiment, the stick 1 may include multiple corrugated sections 7 placed intermittently along the stick 1. For example, the stick 1 may include a combination of the features shown in FIGS. 2a and 2b. Such an arrangement may allow for guiding the stick 1 through a canal with many curves. In one example embodiment of the present invention, the stick 1 may include a first long corrugated section 7 at a region of the end section 3, and may include a plurality of second corrugated sections 7 that may be shorter than the first corrugated section 7. The second corrugated sections 7 may be arranged in front of the first corrugated section 7 when viewed in a direction from the center 2 to the end section 3. Accordingly, the user may have increased control of the stick 1 since the flexible sections arranged in front of the first corrugated section 7 are short and/or are not as flexible as the first corrugated section 7.

In one example embodiment the present invention, the applicators of FIGS. 2a and 2b may include an absorbent tip 6 as described with respect to FIG. 1. In one example embodiment the stick 6 may include a plurality of absorbent sections in addition to the absorbent tip 6. For example, according to the embodiment which provides for a plurality of flexible sections, the stick 1 may include an absorbent material between each of the flexible sections. Alternatively, the absorbent material may be placed over the flexible sections. Alternatively, an absorbent material may be placed over the entire stick 1. In one example embodiment, the stick 1 may include two ends, such that the features of the stick from the center 2 to each end section 3 are approximately identical. Alternatively, the stick 1 may include from the center 2 to one end section 3 features corresponding to one of the sticks 1 shown in one of FIGS. 1, 2a, and 2b, and may include from the center 2 to the other end section 3 features corresponding to another of the FIGS. 1, 2a, and 2b. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the stick 1 may include only one absorbent tip 6 at one end section 3 of the stick 1. Alternatively, the stick 1 may include an absorbent tip 6 at each end section 3 of the stick 1.

According to an example embodiment of the present invention, the applicator may include a plurality of sticks 1 interconnected at an adjoining section 8, e.g., at a center. In one example embodiment, the plurality of sticks may each be differently arranged, e.g., to provide a user with various options. For example, FIG. 3 illustrates an applicator that includes three sticks 1 corresponding to the sticks 1 shown in FIGS. 1, 2a, and 2b. In one example embodiment, each of, or a number of the sticks 1 may include a flexible section immediately adjacent to the adjoining section 8. The user may accordingly use a first one of the plurality of sticks 1 without the other of the plurality of sticks 1 hindering the use of the first of the plurality of sticks 1. In an alternative example embodiment, the adjacent section 8 may itself be a flexible section.

Those skilled in the art can appreciate from the foregoing description that the present invention can be implemented in a variety of forms. For example, the multi-stick applicator of FIG. 3 may include sticks with features other than those shown in FIGS. 1, 2a, and 2b. Therefore, while the embodiments of this invention have been described in connection with particular examples thereof, the true scope of the embodiments of the invention should not be so limited since other modifications will become apparent to the skilled practitioner upon a study of the drawings, specification, and following claims.