Title:
Cycling pants
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pair of cycling pants is provided with a pants unit, a pair of shoulder straps and a pair of buckles to form a bib or shoulder strap type cycling pants. The pants unit has a front waist section, a rear waist section configured to form a waist opening together with the front waist section, and a crotch section positioned between a pair of leg-openings. The shoulder straps have fixed ends connected to the rear waist section of the pants unit and free ends positioned on the opposite side as the fixed ends. The shoulder straps extend from the rear waist section to the front waist section by way of the rider's shoulders when the cycling pants are worn. The two buckles are each configured such that one of the shoulder straps can pass there-through and arranged on the front waist section for adjusting the lengths of the shoulder straps.



Inventors:
Okajima, Shinpei (Sakai, JP)
Application Number:
11/364057
Publication Date:
12/14/2006
Filing Date:
03/01/2006
Assignee:
Shimano Inc. (Sakai, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUINN, RICHALE LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GLOBAL IP COUNSELORS, LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pair of cycling pants for a rider to wear when riding a bicycle, comprising: a pants unit including a front waist section, a rear waist section coupled to the front waist section to form a waist opening, and a crotch section positioned between the front and rear waist sections to define a pair of leg openings; a pair of shoulder straps having fixed ends connected to the rear waist section of the pants unit and free ends positioned on the opposite side as the fixed ends, the shoulder straps being configured such that they can be extended from the rear waist section to the front waist section by way of a rider's shoulders when the cycling pants are worn; and a pair of buckles coupled to the front waist section and configured such that the shoulder straps can pass therethrough to adjust an effective length of each of the shoulder straps, respectively.

2. The cycling pants recited in claim 1, wherein the front waist section has an upper portion with the buckles arranged thereon, the upper portion being configured such that the buckles are arranged between the chest and waist of the rider when the cycling pants are worn.

3. The cycling pants recited in claim 2, wherein the front waist section is configured to have a tapered shape such that its width narrows gradually in a direction from the crotch section toward the upper portion.

4. The cycling pants recited in claim 1, wherein the shoulder straps have tapering widths along a majority of the shoulder straps such that the widths of the shoulder straps narrow gradually from the fixed ends toward the free ends of the shoulder straps.

5. The cycling pants recited in claim 1, wherein each of the buckles has a passage part through which one of the shoulder straps can pass and a cam lever part configured to pivot between a fastening position where the shoulder strap can be fastened in the passage part and a release position where the fastened state is released.

6. The cycling pants recited in claim 5, wherein each of the shoulder straps includes a main body part formed at a corresponding one of the fixed ends and a passable part arranged between the free end and a tip end of the main body part, the passable part being configured to be passed through the passage part of a corresponding one of the buckles, the passable part being made of natural leather or synthetic leather.

7. The cycling pants recited in claims 6, wherein each of the passable parts has an embossing treatment applied to a surface that mates with the cam lever part of a corresponding one of the buckles.

8. The cycling pants recited in claim 6, wherein each of the shoulder straps further includes a passage restraining part arranged on a tip end of each of the passable part, the passage restraining part being dimensioned such that the passage restraining part is difficult to pass through the passage part of a corresponding one of the buckles.

9. The cycling pants recited in claim 8, wherein each of the passage restraining parts is configured to have a larger thickness than a corresponding one of the passable parts.

10. The cycling pants recited in claim 9, wherein the passage restraining part is formed by overlapping and fastening two layers material together with the material of the passage restraining part being identical to a material of the passable part.

11. The cycling pants recited in claim 6, wherein the main body parts are made of a stretchy material.

12. The cycling pant recited in claim 1, wherein the front waist section is made of a stretchy material.

13. The cycling pants recited in claim 1, wherein the pants unit is made of a stretchy material.

14. The cycling pants recited in claim 6, wherein at least a portion of the rear waist section and at least a portion of each of the main body parts in a vicinity of the base ends of the shoulder straps are made of a perforated mesh material.

15. The cycling pants recited in claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the front waist section is made of a perforated mesh material.

16. The cycling pants recited in claim 10, wherein each of the main body parts of the shoulder straps has a pair of longitudinally extending side edge sections that are made of a material that is less stretchy than a center section a corresponding one of the main body parts.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 to Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-151185. The entire disclosure of Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-151185 is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to pants. More particularly, the present invention relates to cycling pants for a rider to wear when riding a bicycle.

2. Background Information

Bicycling is becoming an increasingly more popular form of recreation as well as a means of transportation. Moreover, bicycling has become a very popular competitive sport for both amateurs and professionals. Whether the bicycle is used for recreation, transportation or competition, the bicycle industry is constantly improving the products that the rider uses during the bicycling. For example, there are many types of garments that are especially designed for use during the bicycling.

Cycling pants are intended for riders (cyclists) to wear when riding a bicycle and are generally made of a stretchy material. There are known examples of cycling pants of an overall type having shoulder straps. For example, Campagnolo offers cycling pants for sale on their website under the Racing Series Man—Spring Summer 2005 line of clothing (http://www.campagnolo.com/apparel as of May 19, 2005). These conventional cycling pants have a pants unit, and shoulder straps that run from the front side to the back side by way of the rider's shoulders. The shoulder straps are formed as homogenous, integral parts of the front side of the pants unit and are sewn to the back side of the pants unit. Cycling pants having this sort of shoulder strap are frequently used by riders participating in road races because the shoulder straps do not easily shift out of place during the intense and strenuous movement that can occur during a road race. Such conventional cycling pants are worn by first passing both legs through the pants unit and then placing the shoulder straps on the shoulders.

Since the shoulder straps of the conventional cycling pants described above are formed integrally with the front side of the pants unit and sewn to the back side of the pants unit, the lengths of the shoulder straps are fixed. Consequently, depending on the body type of the rider, there is the possibility that the shoulder straps will be loose and fall from the shoulders of the rider. Conversely, there is also the possibility that the shoulder straps will be too tight on the shoulders of the rider. Thus, with the conventional shoulder strap type cycling pants described above, there is the possibility of comfort problems occurring in relation to the lengths of the shoulder straps.

In view of the above, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that there exists a need for improved cycling pants. This invention addresses this need in the art as well as other needs, which will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One object of the present invention is to provide a shoulder strap type cycling pant that can resolve comfort problems regarding the lengths of the shoulder straps.

The foregoing objects can basically be attained by providing a pair of cycling pants for a rider to wear when riding a bicycle. The cycling pants basically comprise pants unit, a pair of shoulder straps and a pair of buckles. The pants unit includes a front waist section, a rear waist section coupled to the front waist section to form a waist opening, and a crotch section positioned between the front and rear waist sections to define a pair of leg openings. The shoulder straps have fixed ends connected to the rear waist section of the pants unit and free ends positioned on the opposite side as the fixed ends. The shoulder straps are configured such that they can be extended from the rear waist section to the front waist section by way of a rider's shoulders when the cycling pants are worn. The buckles are coupled to the front waist section and is configured such that the shoulder straps can pass therethrough to adjust an effective length of each of the shoulder straps, respectively.

When this cycling pant is put on, the free ends of the shoulder straps are brought to the buckles and connected to the buckles in advance. The wearer passes his or her legs through the leg openings first and then places the shoulder straps on his or her shoulders. The wearer then adjusts the lengths of the shoulder straps using the pair of buckles. Since the shoulder straps are not fixed to the front waist section and, instead, have free ends that can be passed through the buckles, the length of each shoulder strap can be adjusted independently so as to match the body type of the rider (wearer). As a result, comfort problems regarding the lengths of the shoulder straps can be resolved.

In cycling pants in accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, the front waist section has an upper portion with the buckles arranged thereon. The upper portion is configured such that the buckles are arranged between the chest and waist of the rider when the cycling pants are worn. With this cycling pant, since the two buckles arranged on the front waist section are arranged between the chest and waist of the rider, the buckles are arranged in a place that is easy for the rider to reach and, thus, the rider can easily adjust the lengths of the shoulder straps using the buckles even while riding.

In cycling pants in accordance with a third aspect of the present invention, the front waist section is configured to have a tapered shape such that its width narrows gradually in a direction from the crotch section toward the upper portion. With this cycling pant, the tensile forces imposed on the pants unit by the shoulder straps are dispersed and a comfortable fit can be maintained even if the lengths of the shoulder straps are adjusted such that the shoulder straps are tight. Additionally, since the portions directly below the buckles are shaped such that the widths thereof gradually expand toward the closely positioned end, these portions are easy to grip while riding and the gripping hand will not easily slip when the buckles are operated by gripping these portions.

In cycling pants in accordance with a fourth aspect of the present invention, the shoulder straps have tapering widths along a majority of the shoulder straps such that the widths of the shoulder straps narrow gradually from the fixed ends toward the free ends of the shoulder straps. With this cycling pant, the tensile forces imposed on shoulders by the shoulder straps can be dispersed and, thus, a comfortable fit can be maintained even if the lengths of the shoulder straps are adjusted such that the shoulder straps are tight. Additionally, since the shoulder straps are tapered, they are easy to pass through the buckles.

In cycling pants in accordance with a fifth aspect of the present invention, each of the two buckles has a passage part through which one of the shoulder straps each of the buckles has a passage part through which one of the shoulder straps can pass and a cam lever part configured to pivot between a fastening position where the shoulder strap can be fastened in the passage part and a release position where the fastened state is released. With this cycling pant, the length of either shoulder strap can be adjusted by merely pivoting the cam lever part from the fastening position to the release position.

In cycling pants in accordance with a sixth aspect of the present invention, each of the shoulder straps includes a main body part formed at a corresponding one of the fixed ends and a passable part arranged between the free end and a tip end of the main body part. The passable part is configured to be passed through the passage part of a corresponding one of the buckles, and is made of natural leather or synthetic leather. With this cycling pant, since the passable part is made of a tough leather material that does not readily stretch, the length of a shoulder strap can be adjusted with ease by grasping the passable part. Furthermore, when the cam lever part of one of the buckles is pivoted to the fastening position, the characteristics of the leather material are such that the cam lever part can be pivoted smoothly without applying excessive force and a sufficient fastening force can be obtained.

In cycling pants in accordance with a seventh aspect of the present invention, each of the passable parts has an embossing treatment applied to a surface that mates with the cam lever part of a corresponding one of the buckles. With this cycling pant, the holding force resulting from the mating of the cam lever part with the passable part can be increased without increasing the force (torque) required to pivot the cam lever part and a sufficient fastening force can be obtained between the shoulder strap and the buckle.

In cycling pants in accordance with an eighth aspect of the present invention, a each of the shoulder straps further includes a passage restraining part arranged on a tip end of each of the passable part, the passage restraining part being dimensioned such that the passage restraining part is difficult to pass through the passage part of a corresponding one of the buckles. With this cycling pant, it is difficult for one of the shoulder straps to accidentally become detached from the buckle when the length of the shoulder strap is being adjusted.

In cycling pants in accordance with a ninth aspect of the present invention, each of the passage restraining parts is configured to have a larger thickness than a corresponding one of the passable parts. With this cycling pant, the passage through the passage part can be made more difficult by means of a difference in thickness.

In cycling pants in accordance with a tenth aspect of the present invention, the passage restraining part is formed by overlapping and fastening two layers material together with the material of the passage restraining part being identical to a material of the passable part. With this cycling pant, the passage restraining part matches the other portions well (does not clash) and can be formed in a simple fashion.

In cycling pants in accordance with an eleventh aspect of the present invention, the main body parts are made of a stretchy material. Since the shoulder straps can stretch, the cycling pants can fit riders having a variety of upper body types.

In cycling pants in accordance with a twelfth aspect of the present invention, the front waist section is made of a stretchy material. With this cycling pant, even if the shoulder straps pull on the front waist section, the force will be dispersed because the front waist section is stretchy. Thus, the cycling pant will fit riders having various shapes and sizes of waists.

In cycling pants in accordance with a thirteenth aspect of the present invention, the pants unit is made of a stretchy material. With this cycling pant, since the pants unit can stretch, the cycling pants can fit riders having a variety of lower body types.

In cycling pants in accordance with a fourteenth aspect of the present invention, at least a portion of the rear waist section and at least a portion of each of the main body parts in a vicinity of the base ends of the shoulder straps are made of a perforated mesh material. With this cycling pant, the ventilation is improved in at least the portion of the rear waist section positioned on the upper body and the base end portions of the shoulder straps. Consequently, moisture is less likely to accumulate on the wearer's upper body when the wearer perspires.

In cycling pants in accordance with a fifteenth aspect of the present invention, at least a portion of the front waist section is made of a perforated mesh material. With this cycling pant, the ventilation of the front waist section is improved, thereby reducing the amount of perspiration occurring at the front side of the rider's upper body.

In cycling pants in accordance with a sixteenth aspect of the present invention, each of the main body parts of the shoulder straps has a pair of longitudinally extending side edge sections that are made of a material that is less stretchy than a center section a corresponding one of the main body parts. With this cycling pant, the stretchiness of the shoulder straps is held to an appropriate degree and an appropriate tensile force is obtained from the shoulder straps when the cycling pant is worn. Furthermore, the occurrence of wrinkling in the pants unit can be suppressed and aerodynamic characteristics can be improved.

With the present invention, since the shoulder straps are not fixed to the front waist section and, instead, have free ends that can be passed through the buckles, the length of each shoulder strap can be adjusted independently so as to match the body type of the rider (wearer). As a result, comfort problems regarding the lengths of the shoulder straps can be resolved.

These and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the attached drawings which form a part of this original disclosure:

FIG. 1 is a front side elevational view of a pair of cycling pants in accordance with one preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear side elevational view of the cycling pants illustrated in FIG. 1 in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a left side elevational view of the cycling pants illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a partial front side elevational view of an upper part of the cycling pants illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3 with the buckles removed from the cycling pants;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged front side elevational view of one of the buckles of the cycling pants illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4; and

FIG. 6 is a partial cross sectional view of one of the buckles and one of the shoulder straps of the cycling pants illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Selected embodiments of the present invention will now be explained with reference to the drawings. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that the following descriptions of the embodiments of the present invention are provided for illustration only and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

Referring initially to FIGS. 1 to 3, a pair of cycling pants 10 is illustrated in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. The cycling pants 10 are intended to be worn mainly when riding a road bike, mountain bike, or other bike for sports purposes. The cycling pants 10 basically includes a pants unit 12, a pair of left and right shoulder straps 14 fastened to the pants unit 12, and a pair of left and right buckles 16 fastened to the pants unit 12.

The pants unit 12 is made of polyester or other fabric having a stretchy quality. The figures depict the pants unit 12 in a non-stretched state. The pants unit 12 has a front waist section 20, a rear waist section 22 and a crotch section 24. The front and rear waist sections 20 and 22 are coupled together to cover the upper body of the rider. The upper edges of the front and rear waist sections 20 and 22 form a waist opening 26. The crotch section 24 is positioned between the front and rear waist sections 20 and 22. The crotch section 24 is configured to define a pair of leg openings 28.

As shown in FIG. 4, the front waist section 20 has a pair of left and right closely positioned ends 20a arranged near the crotch section 24 and a pair of left and right distantly positioned ends 20b. The buckles 16 are arranged on the distantly positioned ends 20b of the front waist section 20. The closely positioned ends 20a and the distantly positioned end 20b serve to cause the buckles 16 to be arranged between the chest and waist of the rider when the cycling pant 10 is worn. The front waist section 20 is curved from the left-hand distantly positioned end 20b and the closely positioned end 20a to the right-hand closely positioned end 20a and the distantly positioned end 20b so as to have generally the shape of a letter U.

Also, as shown in FIG. 1, the front waist section 20 has a front upper portion 20c that is curved in the shape of a letter U and made of a stretchy perforated mesh material and a front lower portion 20d that connects to the crotch section 24 and is made of a stretchy non-perforated material. The front upper portion 20c includes the closely positioned ends 20a and the distantly positioned ends 20b. The front lower portion 20d extends to the edge portions on both sides. The front waist section 20 is configured to have a tapered shape such that its width narrows gradually from the closely positioned ends 20a toward the distantly positioned ends 20b, i.e., in a direction from the crotch section 24 towards the front upper portion 20c.

As shown in FIG. 3, the rear waist section 22 is formed integrally and homogeneously with respect to the pair of shoulder straps 14. However, it is also acceptable for the shoulder straps 14 to be separate entities from the rear waist section 22. The rear waist section 22 has a rear upper portion 22a that is made of a stretchy perforated mesh material and connects to the shoulder straps 14 and a rear lower portion 22b that is made of a stretchy non-perforated material and connects to the crotch section 24. The rear upper portion 22a is configured to project toward the rear lower portion 22b in the shape of a letter U. Similarly to the front lower portion 20d, the rear lower portion 22b extends to the edge portions on both sides. Both side portions of the cycling pant where the front waist section 20 and the rear waist section 22 meet are cut very low in a generally U-shaped manner.

The crotch section 24 is positioned between the pair of leg openings 28 and configured to cover the insides of the rider's thighs. The crotch section 24 is made of a stretchy material. The crotch section 24 is sewn such that the leg openings 28 lean slightly forward from the front and rear waist sections 20 and 22.

As shown in FIG. 4, the two shoulder straps 14 have fixed ends 30 connected to the rear waist section 22 of the pants unit 12 and free ends 32 positioned on the opposite side as the fixed ends 30. The shoulder straps 14 are configured such that they can be extended from the rear waist section 22 to the front waist section 20 by way of the rider's shoulders when the cycling pant 10 is worn. Each of the two shoulder straps 14 is configured to have a tapered shape such that its width narrows gradually from the fixed ends 30 toward the free ends 32.

Each shoulder strap 14 has a main body part 34 whose base end is the fixed end 30 of the shoulder strap 14 and a passable part 36 that is arranged at least between the free end 32 of the shoulder strap 14 and the tip end of the main body part 34 and configured to be passed through the passage part 40 of one of the buckles 16. Preferably, the passable part 36 is configured to include the free end 32. The main body part 34 is made of a stretchy perforated mesh material and is formed so as to be integral and homogeneous with respect to the rear upper portion 22a of the rear waist section 22. Edge sections 39 made of a material that is less stretchy than other portions of the cycling pant 10 are provided on both side portions of the main body part parts 34 and the edge portions of the rear waist section 22 and the front waist section 20 that join with the side portions in a continuous manner.

The passable part 36 is made of natural leather or synthetic leather formed to substantially the same width. Preferable the front surface of the passable part 36 is embossed so as to have an embossed section 36a. A passage restraining part 38 configured to be difficult to pass through the passage part 40 is provided on the tip end of each passable part 36. The passage restraining part 38 is formed to protrude on the front side so as to be thicker than the rest of the passable part 36. More specifically, the passage restraining part 38 is made of the same material as the passable part 36 and is formed by overlapping a piece of the material over the front surface of a tip end portion of the passable part 36 and fastening the piece of material in place with stitching (sewing). Thus, when the passable part 36 is passed through the buckle 16 in the direction of removing the passable part 36 from the buckle 16, the passage restraining part 38 catches on the buckle 16 slightly such that the passable part 36 does not readily slip out of the buckle 16. Consequently, it is difficult for the shoulder strap 14 to accidentally become detached from the buckle 16 when the length of the shoulder strap 14 is being adjusted.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the left and right buckles 16 are fastened to the tip ends of the upper portions 20c of the front waist section 20, and preferably comprise molded members made of synthetic resin. Each of the buckle sections 16 has a passage part 40 through which the passable part 36 of a shoulder strap 14 can pass and a cam lever part 42 capable of fastening the passable part 36 of a shoulder strap 14 in the passage part 40. The passage part 40 is a generally rectangular frame-like member and the cam lever part 42 is mounted in a freely pivotal manner on an inside wall of the passage part 40. The cam lever part 42 is configured to pivot between a fastening position where the passable part 36 can be fastened in any desired position and a release position where the fastened state of the passable part 36 is released. In FIG. 6 the fastening position is drawn with a double-dot chain line and the release position is drawn with a solid line. The cam lever part 42 has a lever part 42a that extends from the pivot axis thereof and a cam protrusion part 42b that is arranged on the back side of the lever part 42a and engages with an inside surface of the passage part 40 when the cam lever part 42 is in the fastened position.

With this cycling pant structure, the cycling pant 10 is worn by first passing both legs through the leg openings 28 of the pants unit 12 with the shoulder straps already inserted through the buckles 16 and secured with the cam lever parts 42 in the fastening positions. Then, after the pants unit 12 is put on, the shoulder straps 14 are placed over the shoulders. To adjust the length of a shoulder strap 14, the cam lever part 42 is lifted upward from the fastening position. When a shoulder strap 14 is to be lengthened, one method is to grasp the distantly positioned end 20b of the front waist section 20 and pull downward. After the adjustment is completed, the cam lever part 42 is pivoted downward to the fastening position. When a shoulder strap 14 is to be shortened, one method is to grasp the passage part 40 of the buckle 16 and pull the passage restraining part 38 of the shoulder strap 14, thereby shortening the length of the shoulder strap 14. After the adjustment is completed, the cam lever part 42 is pivoted downward to the fastening position.

Since the shoulder straps 14 are not fixed to the front waist section 20 and, instead, have free ends that can be passed through the buckles, the length of each shoulder strap 14 can be adjusted independently so as to match the body type of the rider. As a result, problems regarding the lengths of the shoulder straps 14 can be resolved.

Each shoulder strap 14 comprises a main body part 34 made of a stretchy material and a passable part 36 that is arranged between the free end 32 and the tip end of the main body part 34 and made of a leather material. Consequently, the passable part 36 is tough and does not readily stretch and the length of the shoulder strap 14 can be adjusted easily by grasping the tip end of the passable part 36. Additionally, when the cam lever part 42 of one of the buckles 16 is pivoted to the fastening position, the characteristics of the leather material (i.e., the stiffness of the leather material with respect to compression in the thickness direction) are such that the cam lever part 42 can be pivoted smoothly without applying excessive force (i.e., the leather material readily compresses to an appropriate degree) and a sufficient fastening force can be obtained (since the leather material can still exert an appropriate reaction force even after it is compressed, a sufficient holding force is obtained when the cam lever part 42 clamps into the leather material). Furthermore, when an embossed section 36a is provided on the front surface of the passable part 36 by means of an embossing process, the holding force resulting from the mating of the cam lever part 42 with the passable part 36 can be increased without increasing the force (torque) required to pivot the cam lever part 42.

Also, the ventilation of the cycling pant 10 is improved and moisture is less likely to accumulate on the rider's upper body when the rider perspires because the main body part parts 34 arranged on the rider's upper body, the front upper portion 20c of the front waist section 20, and the rear upper portion 22a of the rear waist section 22 are made of a perforated mesh material.

Although in the previously described embodiment, all portions of the cycling pant other than the passable part 36 are made of a stretchy material, it is also acceptable made those portions out of a non-stretchy material.

Although in the previously described embodiment the cycling pants 10 are configured to cover only the thighs of the rider, it is also acceptable for the cycling pants 10 to be configured to cover the calves of the rider as well.

GENERAL INTERPRETATION OF TERMS

In understanding the scope of the present invention, the term “comprising” and its derivatives, as used herein, are intended to be open ended terms that specify the presence of the stated features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps, but do not exclude the presence of other unstated features, elements, components, groups, integers and/or steps. The foregoing also applies to words having similar meanings such as the terms, “including”, “having” and their derivatives. Also, the terms “part,” “section,” “portion,” “member” or “element” when used in the singular can have the dual meaning of a single part or a plurality of parts. Finally, terms of degree such as “substantially”, “about” and “approximately” as used herein mean a reasonable amount of deviation of the modified term such that the end result is not significantly changed. For example, these terms can be construed as including a deviation of at least ±5% of the modified term if this deviation would not negate the meaning of the word it modifies.

While only selected embodiments have been chosen to illustrate the present invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that various changes and modifications can be made herein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Furthermore, the foregoing descriptions of the embodiments according to the present invention are provided for illustration only, and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.