Title:
Facetent for avoiding solar radiation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention discloses a collapsible shade for avoiding solar radiation. The shade includes a first oblong segment of material which forms the base of the apparatus. In one aspect, the first oblong segment of material includes, situated around its perimeter, a first malleable element, such as a wire, to expand the segment of material to an expanded shape when uncollapsed. The shade further includes a second oblong segment of material which forms the dome of the apparatus. The second oblong segment contains a second malleable element disposed around its perimeter to enable the apparatus to form a dome-like configuration when uncollapsed. A user can then shade his or her face or other objects under the dome. The apparatus also includes a flap attached to a longer end of the second oblong segment, which can be rolled up and attached to the second oblong segment when not in use. The apparatus is collapsible for easy and convenient storage and transport, and can be placed into a circular pouch or similar containment apparatus.



Inventors:
Baek, Catherine (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Baek, Jennie (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Baek, Devyn (Ladera Ranch, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/333496
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
01/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/04
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McDermott Will & Emery LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for avoiding solar radiation on objects such as a face and adjacent body parts of a user, comprising: (1) a solar shade, comprising: (a) a first oblong disk forming a base of the solar shade, the first oblong disk comprising a first malleable element disposed across a perimeter of the first oblong disk; (b) a second oblong disk forming a dome of the solar shade, wherein non-elongated ends of the second oblong disk are coupled, respectively, to non-elongated ends of the first oblong disk, the second oblong disk further comprising a second malleable element disposed across a perimeter of the second oblong disk; and (2) solar shade containment means; wherein the solar shade is collapsible for insertion into the containment means.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a flap disposed across at least a portion of an elongated end of the second oblong disk, the flap comprising attachment means to enable a user to secure the flap near the top of the elongated disk.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first oblong disk comprises supporting material.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first oblong disk comprises a pillow.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first oblong disk comprises an air bladder.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first and second malleable elements comprise metal wires.

7. A collapsible shade for avoiding solar radiation, comprising: a first segment of stretchable material in a substantially oblong shape, the first segment used for placement on a surface; a second segment of stretchable material in a substantially oblong shape, wherein shorter ends of the second segment are attached, respectively, to shorter ends of the first segment; a malleable wire attached substantially around the perimeter of the second segment; and a containment pouch; wherein the first and second segments are collapsible by a user for insertion into the pouch.

8. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the first segment further comprises a separate malleable wire attached substantially around its perimeter.

9. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the first segment further comprises an air bladder.

10. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the first segment further comprises a pillow.

11. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the second segment further comprises a flap of material appended to a longer end of the second segment.

12. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the second segment further comprises a flap of material appended to a longer end of the second segment; and wherein the second segment and the flap comprise attachment means for rolling up and securing the flap at an area adjacent the longer end.

13. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the first and second segments comprise stretchable nylon.

14. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the first and second segments comprise the same material.

15. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the pouch is substantially circular.

16. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the pouch is less than twenty-four inches in diameter.

17. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the malleable wire is sewn into the second segment.

18. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the first and second segments are sewn together.

19. The solar shade of claim 7, wherein the malleable wire is contained within the perimeter of the second segment in a sewn pocket.

20. A collapsible apparatus for avoiding solar radiation, comprising: first disk means for use as a base for a user; second disk means coupled to the first disk means, the second disk means for use as ,dome for shading, wherein the first and second disk means are collapsible; and containment means for maintaining the collapsible form of the first and second disk means.

21. The apparatus of claim 20, further comprising flap means coupled to the second disk means.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to provisional U.S. Patent Application No. 60-692130, filed Jun. 20, 2005, and which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This application is related to mechanisms for avoiding solar radiation in general, and a compact dome-like device for accomplishing the same in particular.

2. Description of the Related Art

Various portable mechanisms for providing shade from solar radiation have been proposed in the literature. One illustration of such a mechanism is found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,368,852, issued to Dean. The combined sunbather shade and carrying case therein may be used for providing shade to a selected bodypart for a user lying on a flat surface, or a lawn chair.

One disadvantage of the shading mechanism as taught in Dean is that, while allowing for a compact means of transporting a sunshade, Dean provides no separation between the surface upon which the user is situated and the body part sought to be shaded. In addition, the “substantially C-shaped configuration” of Dean limits its flexibility in terms of how it can be positioned to avoid solar radiation from various angles as the position of the sun changes relative to the user.

Another problem with the apparatus as described in Dean relates to the complexity with which one is required to use the mechanism. For example, using the apparatus in Dean for avoiding solar radiation requires one to “remove flexible wire component 14 from within the pouch formed by panels 4 and position tubing 12 between panels 4 so that the joined arcurate perimeters of panels 4 snugly fit against tubing 12.” After this step, the user must next situate the mechanism in an appropriate manner to perform its intended shading function. Thereupon, to return the device to a condition suitable for use as a carrying case, the reverse steps need to be taken. Accordingly, to achieve the objective of solar shading via the use of a compact device, the Dean apparatus presents an unduly complicated solution.

These and other problems with prior art shading systems are addressed in the context of the present invention, described in further detail below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A collapsible solar shade is disclosed for conveniently and effectively avoiding solar radiation on a user's body parts (or other objects) including, for example, the face, neck, and decollete. The present invention includes a bottom disk, preferably oblong, which forms the base of the solar shade. Disposed along the perimeter of the bottom disk is a first malleable element, such as a wire, that may be collapsed as shown herein, but otherwise is situated to maintain the dome-like shape of the mechanism. The bottom disk provides separation between an object or body part sought to be shaded on one hand, and a surface upon which the solar shade may be placed on the other hand. The present invention further includes a top panel oblong disk, with the respective shorter edges of the top oblong disk attached to the respective shorter edges of the bottom oblong disk. Also disposed along the perimeter of the top panel oblong disk is a second malleable element, such as a wire, that may be collapsed as shown herein, but, like the bottom disk, is otherwise is situated to maintain the dome-like shape of the mechanism. In an alternative configuration, the bottom disk is formed without using a malleable element. In either implementation, the result is that the top panel oblong disk forms a convex dome-like shape.

In another embodiment, an additional shading flap is attached substantially along the perimeter of one of the longer edges of the top panel oblong disk. The flap optionally contains a Velcro or similar attachment, with a corresponding Velcro attachment disposed at the top edge of the top panel oblong disk. The flap can then be placed in a “rolled-up” configuration using the corresponding Velcro attachment when not in use.

The present invention provides, by a simple twisting and pressing means, for collapsing of the solar shading mechanism as described herein. The collapsed mechanism may then be placed in a suitable containment mechanism, such as a simple circular fabric pouch, for easy transportation and access thereto.

Yet other advantages and features of the present invention are set forth in the Detailed Description, Figures, and claims to follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a three-quarter view of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 represents a view of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention with the flap down.

FIG. 5A represents a view of a first step of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention being collapsed.

FIG. 5B represents a view of a second step of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention being collapsed.

FIG. 5C illustrates a view of a third step of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention being collapsed. front view of the apparatus according to the present invention.

FIG. 5D illustrates an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention in its collapsed state.

FIG. 6 illustrates an embodiment of a pouch according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In general, in one aspect, the present invention includes a collapsible solar shade for conveniently and effectively avoiding solar radiation on a user's body parts (or other objects) including, for example, the face, neck, hands, feet, and decollete. In another aspect, the collapsible solar shade may include an adjustable pull down flap for additional shading. In still another aspect, the collapsible solar shade may be efficiently stored in a compact containment means such as a pouch for the convenience of the user.

FIG. 1 represents a front-view of the mechanism for solar shading in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The apparatus as shown in FIG. 1 is not collapsed, but rather has been removed from the pouch or other containment device which with it is associated. The solar shading mechanism in accordance with this configuration includes a bottom disk 1, top disk 2, and a rolled-up flap of material 3 affixed to an attachment 4, the attachment 4 disposed substantially in the center of one of the elongated sides of the mechanism.

The two disks 1 and 2 as depicted in FIG. 1 are preferably oblong in the sense that they are each elongated in one direction. Each disk 1 and 2 constitutes a section or segment of material. Preferably, the segments of material are stretchable and employ stretchy nylon, umbrella material, lightweight tent material, or another suitable fabric. At least the top disk 2 and the (rolled up) flap should also be substantially opaque so as to accomplish the intended objective of providing a user or object protection from solar radiation. In a typical configuration, the top disk 2 is slightly larger than the bottom disk 1.

The solar shade in FIG. 1 is in its natural, uncollapsed state. When uncollapsed, the mechanism is configured such that the bottom disk 1 creates the base of the solar shade. The top disk 2 forms a convex-like dome shape. The non-elongated sides of the top disk edges are affixed, respectively, to the non-elongated sides of the bottom disk 1. The disks 1 and 2 may be attached by various means, including, for example, simply sewing the material together. Other attachment means may be equally suitable.

The rigidity of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 is achieved by the use of a first malleable wire 7 that is embedded in and disposed around the perimeter of bottom disk 1, and a second malleable wire 6 that is embedded in and disposed around the perimeter of top disk 2. (In the embodiment shown, the fabric at the perimeter of oblong disks 1 and 2 is covering the wires.) The malleable wires 7 and 6 may be sewn into the fabric, or otherwise may reside in designated pockets of the fabric associated with the respective top disks 1 and 2. The wire 7 may form a “loop” which extends around the perimeter of disk 1. Similarly, the wire 6 may form a “loop” which extends around the perimeter of disk 2. One end of the wires 7 and 6 may be attached to their other respective end by any suitable means, such as through the use of glue, crimping, a circular plastic attachment, etc. The malleable wires 7 and 6 should be composed of material (e.g., bendable metal or plastic) that enables them to stretch to their maximum capabilities given the constraints of oblong disks 1 and 2 when in uncollapsed form as shown in FIG. 1. Provided the wires are malleable in that, among other things, they expand to the largest shape within their constraints (namely, the respective perimeters of the disks 1 and 2), the wires themselves need not be limited to having circular diameters; their diameters may be flat, or another shape.

In this manner, the material used in the present invention may be structured such that the domed tent is substantially effortlessly collapsible for easy and efficient storage in a pouch or other containment mechanism. Conversely, when a user is ready to use the solar shade, he or she can simply remove it from the containment pouch and the shade will automatically pop up to its full domed-tent like position for immediate use. An embodiment of the collapsing technique is further discussed with reference to FIGS. 5A-D, below.

Other configurations may contemplate the use of multiple segments of malleable wire 7 or of wire 6, with each end preferably coupled together, to comprise the wire 7 or the wire 6 in FIG. 1.

Shown in FIG. 2 is a “three-quarter” view of an embodiment of the present invention. As previously described, malleable wire 7 and malleable wire 6 are situated respectively across the perimeters of bottom disk 1 and top disk 2 such that, when uncollapsed, a “dome like” effect is created. Flap 3 is also depicted as rolled up and connected to the top of disk 2.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the segment of malleable wire 7 is not used. Instead, the rigidity and malleable nature of the wire 6 is used by itself to maintain the solar shade in its uncollapsed, dome-like structure. In this alternative embodiment, the non-elongated edges of bottom disk 1 are connected to the respective non-elongated edges of top disk 2, such as through standard sewing or equivalent techniques, similar to that described in FIGS. 1 and 2.

The embodiment as described in FIGS. 1 and 2 may, in some instances, be more durable than the alternative embodiment referenced immediately above. Selection of this embodiment may depend, for example, on cost factors, or the specific shape of the disks and the relative ease with which the solar shade will seamlessly expand when uncollapsed.

FIG. 3 depicts a side view of an embodiment of the present invention. As can be seen, like in the other embodiments, the smaller edge of bottom disk 1 is connected (e.g., sewn) to the top disk 2. Wire 6, which also may be sewn into the fabric or otherwise attached at the edges, encompasses the perimeter of top disk 2. The flap 3 is in its folded state, connected to the top of disk 2.

FIG. 4 shows a view of the solar shading apparatus with the flap 3 down. FIG. 4 also shows the top disk and wire 6 disposed along the perimeter of the disk. Obscured from view is the bottom disk 1 by the extended flap 3. Arranged substantially in the center of flap 3 is a strip of Velcro. Likewise, placed substantially in the center of the front edge of disk 2 is a corresponding strip of Velcro 4. The strips 4 and 5 in this embodiment are used to secure the flap at the top of the solar shade (see FIGS. 1, 2 and 3) when it is not desired for use or when the user intends to collapse the mechanism. Uses of the flap 3 are discussed further, below. In other embodiments, a drawstring or snap button may be used in place of the Velcro mechanism to secure the flap when it is not in use.

FIG. 5A shows an example of the solar shade in its initial stages of being collapsed, for purposes of convenient storage and transport. The material and wires used in the present invention are structured so that the solar shade may be substantially effortlessly collapsed for easy and efficient storage. A user (not shown) may hold the solar shade by its sides (i.e., in or around the area, such as shown in FIG. 2, where the respective non-elongated sides of disk 1 and disk 2 are attached). The user then twists the solar shade. FIG. 5A represents an illustration of the state of the shade when being held and twisted in its initial stages of being collapsed. Thereupon, the user continues to twist the solar shade until the oblong disk 2 and associated malleable wire 6 is substantially in the form of a “figure eight”, and the malleable wire 7 is concurrently also compressed into substantially the form of a “figure eight” by virtue of the user's twisting of the mechanism. FIG. 5B depicts a representation of the further collapsed shade with the disk 2 and wire 6 (and disk 1 and wire 7) pressed into this substantially “figure eight” form.

Finally, the user folds over one segment of the “figure eight” over the other segment, and uses his or her hands to compress the apparatus. FIG. 5C depicts an illustration of the solar shade after being folded over, pressed down and substantially collapsed. The malleable nature of the wires used in connection with the present invention make it easy to collapse the solar shade without compromising its structural integrity.

FIG. 5D shows the solar shade in its collapsed form. Note that if the user (not shown) removes his or her hands from the collapsed shade in FIG. 5D, the shade will revert to its original dome-like position, illustrating one of the numerous advantages of the apparatus.

FIG. 6 illustrates a simple pouch for storing the collapsed mechanism, substantially circular in nature, into which the collapsed shade can be inserted in a compact and efficient manner. The pouch is designed to have size proportions that are commensurate with a snug storage of the solar shade in its collapsed form. The pouch can then be compactly stored away or transported as the user sees fit. Thereafter, as noted above, when the user wishes to set up the solar shade, the user may simply remove the shade from its storing pouch and it will automatically reform to its working position upon removal.

It should be noted that, while FIG. 6 presents the storage mechanism in the context of a simple pouch, other containment mechanisms, such as a clip with a handle, may be equally suitable and contemplated by those skilled in the art.

Various applications and embodiments of the solar shade are now discussed. The size of the solar shade may vary depending on the particular application, but in general, to further the benefits of ease of transport, collapsibility and use, the solar shade may be compact and not bigger than the specific application for which it is designed. One typical application of the solar shade is with respect to a sunbather who wishes to protect his or her face and neck from exposure to the sun. In this application, the user may place the dome-like structure on a substantially leveled surface such as a floor, sunbathing chair, recliner, the ground, sand, and the like. The user may then situate himself or herself by placing the head underneath the shaded surface and on top of the disk 1 (e.g., FIG. 1).

In the above-described configuration, the solar shade may, by way of example, be 20 inches high at its peak, and approximately 16 inches in length at the base. These figures are for illustrative purposes only, as it may be contemplated by those in the art that the specific dimensions are dependent upon design detail and not critical to the present invention.

The benefits of the flap 3 illustrated with respect to FIG. 4 are particularly evident in the foregoing application. Advantageously, to provide additional protection to the lower part of the face and the neck or upper chest, the user may elect to pull down the adjustable flap and thereby avoid excessive exposure to solar radiation. The flap thereby provides versatility, unlike other existing solutions, in enabling the user to control the amount of desired solar exposure. The specific height of the flap, again, represents a design detail not critical to the implementation of the invention. However, in the example given above relative to the use of the solar shade as a mechanism for protecting the face and neck areas, an appropriate dimension for the height of flap 3 may be 24 inches.

As noted above, the size of the solar shade may accordingly vary depending on the needs of the user and the desired application. As another illustration, another solar shade that may be used to cover larger or smaller objects (whether a user's body parts or other objects or materials such as a cooler) may be constructed larger or smaller, respectively, to accommodate the variations in possible applications.

As described above, the user or recreational sunbather may rest the head on the base disk 1 (FIGS. 1-3). This disk provides a foundational support to enable the user to separate the head from the underlying surface upon which the collapsible solar shade is placed, while the top disk 2 (FIGS. 1-4) provides shade from the sun.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the base disk 1 (FIGS. 1-3) of the solar shade may be augmented with an extra level of thickness, including padding or stuffing to increase the comfort level of the user. In effect, disk 1 may include a “pillow”, particularly if the user wishes to rest his head on a particularly uneven, course, or grainy surface below. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the extra thickness or addition of a pillow may be constructed to maintain sufficient “stretchiness”, if required, so as not to compromise the ability of the user to collapse the solar shade in the manner previously discussed.

In still another embodiment, the base disk 1 may incorporate an “air bladder” and a corresponding standard plug that the user can inflate as desired. Thereafter, when the user wishes to recollapse the solar shade (for example, for reinsertion into the circular pouch), the user can simply open the plug to release the air) and then perform the standard procedures discussed above for collapsing the pouch.

Further, other materials may be equally suitable for forming the perimeters or edges of the disks such as, for example, malleable plastic rods, rubber tubing, or another appropriate structure that enables the solar shade to maintain its natural, open position and, where appropriate, to collapse for insertion into the pouch.

Still different embodiments may be contemplated wherein the present invention can be constructed using additional material. For example, it may be appropriate to insert an additional flap or partially-removable disk at the back side of the solar shade, creating in effect a closed environment. This additional fabric may act as an extra shield to prevent excessive exposure to the sun, particularly as the angle of the sun moves with respect to the sunbather. In these embodiments, the extra cloth or disk should be constructed in a way so as not to restrict the naturally collapsible form of the solar shade (See, for example, FIG. 4).

In the manufacturing of the solar shade, the oblong disks that comprise the apparatus in this disclosure preferably constitute discrete segments of material attached together by an appropriate means as described above. In some instances, they may actually originate from a single piece of material to form what is in effect the equivalent of two oblong disks and a flap. In this alternative configuration, the malleable metal wires may then be inserted at the appropriate locations via a standard sewing process or other known methods.

The color of the apparatus according to the present invention may be varied in any color spectrum or combination thereof, and appropriate designs and logos may be placed on the apparatus and accompanying pouch. In addition, clamps or similar materials may be included to secure the solar shade onto a sunbathing chair or other surface, such that the solar shade will remain firmly in place.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. It is intended that the scope of the invention not be limited by this detailed description, but by the claims and the equivalents to the claims appended hereto.