Title:
Thigh support device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one embodiment of the present invention, a thigh support device is provided which is a generally elongated, supportive wedge operable for wedging between a person's outer thigh when seated in a car seat and the car seat, thereby supporting and laterally constraining the thigh. The thigh support device may further include means for covering the supportive wedge and/or the supportive wedge may be made of a compliant material in some embodiments. A thigh supportive car seat is also provided that includes means built into the car seat for supporting and laterally constraining a person's outer thigh when seated in a car seat and the car seat, which in some embodiments the thigh supporting means is adjustable in height.



Inventors:
Anikin, Sergey (San Bruno, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/111131
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
04/21/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/463.2
International Classes:
A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BROWN, PETER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SERGEY ANIKIN (Atherton, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A thigh support device consisting of: a generally triangular shaped, elongated, supportive cushion operable for wedging between a person's outer thigh when seated in a car seat and the car seat, the cushion having no right angles between sides along its elongated axis and the cushion being dimensioned and shaped such that the cushion can only support and laterally constrain the thigh and not beyond the thigh.

2. The thigh support device of claim 1, further comprising means for covering said supportive cushion.

3. The thigh support device of claim 1, wherein said supportive cushion is comprised of a compliant material.

4. For use with a car or similar vehicle, a thigh support device comprising: means for supporting and laterally constraining a person's outer thigh when seated in a seat of the car; and means for covering said thigh supporting means.

5. (canceled)

6. (canceled)

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to ergonomic devices for upper leg support while seated. More particularly, the invention relates to upper leg support ergonomic devices that constrain unnecessary movement of an automobile driver's leg while providing comforting support thereto.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is a common experience when driving a car that the leg which controls the gas and break pedals tends to get fatigued and is not always located optimally to reach the pedals quickly. When unconstrained, the driver's upper leg tends to move unnecessarily while driving, which tends to overexert the leg and increases reaction time in situations when fast action is needed.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a way to reduce overexertion and unnecessary movement of the driver's controlling leg while driving.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIGS. 1a and b illustrate a longitudinal and side perspective view, respectively, of an exemplary thigh support device according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 illustrates the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 in exemplary use supporting the controlling upper leg of a car driver.

Unless otherwise indicated illustrations in the figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To achieve the forgoing and other objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, a variety of thigh support devices are described.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a thigh support device is provided which is a generally elongated, supportive wedge operable for wedging between a person's outer thigh when seated in a car seat and the car seat, thereby supporting and laterally constraining the thigh. The thigh support device may further including means for covering the supportive wedge and/or the supportive wedge may be made of a compliant material in some embodiments.

In alternate embodiments of the present invention, a thigh supportive car seat is provided that includes means built into the car seat for supporting and laterally constraining a person's outer thigh when seated in a car seat and the car seat, which in some embodiments the thigh supporting means is adjustable in height.

Other features, advantages, and object of the present invention will become more apparent and be more readily understood from the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is best understood by reference to the detailed figures and description set forth herein.

Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the Figures. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments.

FIGS. 1a and b illustrate a longitudinal and side perspective view, respectively, of an exemplary thigh support device 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in the Figure, thigh support device 100 is a generally triangular shaped elongated wedge. In the preferred embodiment, thigh support device 100 is filled with a relatively firm, but compliant material that is comfortable to the user's upper leg when pressing against thigh support device 100. Suitable filling materials include, but are not limited to, common solid foam, Styrofoam beans used in beanbags, etc. In the preferred embodiment, thigh support device 100 is covered by a soft and resilient material (shown in the figure as a textured surface), but any suitable material may be implemented depending upon the needs of the particular application. Some embodiments may not have a cover and, instead, the solid filing material is used alone.

The length of the preferred embodiment is sized such that it can directly support most of a person's thigh. Similarly, the length of each side of the triangle, and hence the angles thereof, are chosen such that the thigh support device can comfortably wedge between a person's outer thigh and the car seat they are sitting in. In one application, suitable dimensions are a longitudinal length of 8 inches, and an equilateral triangular with 4 inches on each side. In alternate embodiments, the shape of the leg support surfaces may be varied to have different shapes, including, without limitation, curved, and concave to better fit the shape of the thigh, especially if less compliant materials are used. In light of the teachings of the present invention those skilled in the art will recognize a multiplicity of alternate and suitable shapes, and fill and cover materials as dictated by the requirements of the particular application.

FIG. 2 illustrates the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 in exemplary use supporting the controlling upper leg of a car driver. Although, the preferred application is directed towards automobile applications, those skilled in the art will recognize a multiplicity of alternate application in light of the teachings of the present invention. As seen in the figure, the preferred application of thigh support device 100 is to be wedged between the driver's outer right thigh and the seat.

As clearly demonstrated in the exemplary implementation shown, the driver's right thigh is supported such that unnecessarily movement of that leg is laterally restricted while the lower part of the leg is free to move normally, thereby providing supportive comfort and improved reaction time to engage the gas or break pedals as the lower leg is constrained in closer proximity thereof.

Some alternate embodiments (not shown) may be further provided with means for removably attaching the thigh support device to the seat surface to resist slippage thereof over the seat surface.

Although the Figure illustrates an exemplary placement for left sided steering wheel cars, of course, cars with right sided steering wheel would place thigh support device 100 against their left leg.

It is contemplated that some users may want to use the present thigh support device on both legs or, even, non-drivers may also want to use the thigh support device as additional ergonomic comfort.

Having fully described at least one embodiment of the present invention, other equivalent or alternative methods of thigh support according to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The invention has been described above by way of illustration, and the specific embodiments disclosed are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. For example, the embodiments described in the foregoing were directed to portable implementations of the thigh support device; however, in alternate embodiments the thigh support device may be incorporated appropriately into the car seat and capable of height adjustment by the driver, wherein such implementations of the present invention are contemplated as within the scope of the present invention. The invention is thus to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the following claims.