Title:
Multi-zone coil construction airbed
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An inflatable support system comprising at least one inflatable chamber having an external surface, and electrically powered pump configured to inflate the inflatable chamber, at least one first size coil defined within the inflatable chamber and at least one second size coil defined within the inflatable chamber.



Inventors:
Lewison, Corey (Buffalo Grove, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/516901
Publication Date:
03/15/2007
Filing Date:
09/07/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/709
International Classes:
A47C27/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060021141Human body cover with medical accident prevention functionFebruary, 2006Shima
20080028526Bed device and MRI apparatusFebruary, 2008Kato
20090077745Waterproof bedspread for hospital bedMarch, 2009Chou
20030033674Infant garment and methods for treating positional plagiocephalyFebruary, 2003Mann
20080115285Body support for medical applicationsMay, 2008Hiatt
20050108825Hospital bed side protectorMay, 2005Tayoun Jr.
20080096183Instructional exercise mat systemApril, 2008Cotran et al.
20080222802Bed frame & method of assemblySeptember, 2008Harrow
20050108824Diaper changing apparatus and methods of changing a baby's diaperMay, 2005Rosenberg
20050039259Plastic mattress foundation having a sculpted exterior surfaceFebruary, 2005Gladney
20080052827Weighted octagonal beach towelMarch, 2008Deintinis



Primary Examiner:
MERLINO, ALYSON MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An inflatable support system comprising: at least one inflatable chamber having an external surface; an electrically powered pump configured to inflate said inflatable chamber; at least one first size coil defined within said inflatable chamber; and at least one second size coil defined within said inflatable chamber.

2. The inflatable support system of claim 1, wherein air can freely flow between the interior of said coils and said inflatable chamber.

3. The inflatable support system of claim 1, wherein said inflatable chamber is defined by at least a top and a bottom layer of material.

4. The inflatable support system of claim 3, wherein said first and said second size coils are attached to said top layer of material and said bottom layer of material.

5. The inflatable support system of claim 4, wherein at least one of said first size coils at least partially defines at least one first zone, and at least one of said second size coils at least partially defines at least one second zone.

6. The inflatable support system of claim 5, further comprising a plurality of said first zones and a plurality of said second zones.

7. The inflatable support system of claim 6, wherein said first zones and said second zones alternate in placement on said external surface of said inflatable support system.

8. The inflatable support system of claim 5, further comprising at least one third size of coil defined within said inflatable chamber.

9. The inflatable support system of claim 7, wherein at least one of said third size coils at least partially defines at least one third zone.

10. The inflatable support system of claim 8, wherein at least two of said coil sizes at least partially define said first zone.

11. The inflatable support system of claim 9, wherein at least two of said coil sizes at least partially define said second zone.

12. The inflatable support system of claim 10, wherein at least two of said coil sizes at least partially define said third zone.

13. The inflatable support system of claim 1, wherein said electrically powered pump is non-removably mounted to said inflatable chamber.

14. An inflatable support system comprising: an inflatable chamber comprised of an external surface and at least a top layer and a bottom layer; an electrically powered pump configured to inflate said inflatable chamber; a first type of internal structure defined within said inflatable chamber, said first type of internal structure comprised of at least one substantially flat layer of material formed in a loop, said loop having open ends; and a second type of internal structure defined within said inflatable chamber, said second type of internal structure comprised of at least one substantially flat layer of material formed in a loop, said loop having open ends.

15. The inflatable support system of claim 14, wherein at least a portion of said first internal structure is attached to said top layer of said inflatable chamber, and at least a portion of said first internal structure is attached to said bottom layer of said inflatable chamber.

16. The inflatable support system of claim 15, wherein at least a portion of said second internal structure is attached to said top layer of said inflatable chamber, and at least a portion of said second internal structure is attached to said bottom layer of said inflatable chamber.

17. The inflatable support system of claim 16, wherein said first type of internal structure is attached by a first weld size to said top layer of said inflatable chamber; and said second type of internal structure is attached by a second weld size to said top layer of said inflatable chamber.

18. The inflatable support system of claim 17, wherein said first type of internal structure is attached by a first weld size to said bottom layer of said inflatable chamber; and said second type of internal structure is attached by a second weld size to said bottom layer of said inflatable chamber.

19. The inflatable support system of claim 16, wherein said first type of internal structure is attached to said top layer of said inflatable chamber at a first weld forming a first shape on said external surface of said inflatable chamber; and said second type of internal structure is attached to said top layer of said inflatable chamber at a second weld forming a second shape on said external surface of said inflatable chamber.

20. The inflatable support system of claim 19, wherein said first type of internal structure is attached to said bottom layer of said inflatable chamber at a first weld forming a first shape on said external surface of said inflatable chamber; and said second type of internal structure is attached to said bottom layer of said inflatable chamber at a second weld forming a second shape on said external surface of said inflatable chamber.

21. An inflatable support system comprising: an inflatable chamber having an outer surface; and electrically powered pump configured to inflate said inflatable chamber; said inflatable chamber having at least one zone of firmness comprised of a first pattern of coils and said inflatable chamber having at least one zone of firmness comprised of a second pattern of coils.

22. The inflatable support system of claim 21, wherein said coils are all of the same size.

23. The inflatable support system of claim 21, wherein at least one coil of a first size at least partially defines said at least one first zone and at least one coil of a second size at least partially defines said at least one second zone.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/715,646 entitled “Multi-Zone Coil Construction Airbed” filed on Sep. 9, 2005. U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/715,646 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of inflatable support systems, particularly to an inflatable support system having coils that provide multiple zones of firmness.

2. Related Art

Inflatable mattresses have been available for many years. The design of inflatable mattresses has been constantly evolving to provide a more conventional mattress feel for the end user, while maintaining the convenience of an inflatable mattress. Some conventional mattresses incorporate different “comfort” zones that provide varying levels of support for different areas of a user's body. These comfort zones are designed such that the mattresses have different levels of firmness in different areas.

Normally, for a user lying on his or her back, the principal pressure points are located under the head, shoulder, buttocks and heels. For a user lying on his or her side, the principal pressure points are located over the shoulder, hip/thigh and ankle/foot areas. In order to increase comfort, it is beneficial to adjust the manner in which weight is distributed in these areas. Furthermore, users often prefer different a different feel in different areas of a mattress. Conventional mattresses provide varying firmness in different areas through a variety of methods, including utilizing different types of springs, foam densities or supplemental padding.

In the field of inflatable mattresses, it is undesirable to add material such as foam or springs because of the excess bulk of such materials. An inflatable mattress incorporating springs would be difficult to roll up into a compact, easily storable configuration. Indeed, compactability and portability are the main advantages inflatable mattresses have over conventional mattresses. Weight would also be increased with excess padding or springs, thereby also limiting portability. Therefore, it would be beneficial to provide an inflatable mattress having multiple comfort zones without additional springs or other bulk-increasing materials.

BRIEF SUMMARY

An inflatable support system is provided. The inflatable support system comprises at least one inflatable chamber having an external surface, and electrically powered pump configured to inflate the inflatable chamber, at least one first size coil defined within the inflatable chamber and at least one second size coil defined within the inflatable chamber.

In an alternate embodiment, an inflatable support system is provided comprising an inflatable chamber with an external surface and at least a top and a bottom layer. An electrically powered pump is configured to inflate the inflatable chamber, and first and second types of internal structures are defined within the inflatable chamber. The first type of internal structure is comprised of at least one substantially flat layer of material formed in a loop, and the loop has open ends. The second type of internal structure is comprised of at least one substantially flat layer of material formed in a loop, and the loop has open ends.

In a second alternate embodiment, an inflatable support system is provided comprising an inflatable chamber having an outer surface and an electrically powered pump configured to inflate the inflatable chamber. The inflatable chamber has at least one first zone of firmness comprised of a first pattern of coils and at least one second zone of firmness comprised of a second pattern of coils.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of an inflatable support system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 1A is a top plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of an inflatable support system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a top plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of an inflatable support system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3A is a top plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 3;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of an inflatable support system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4A is a top plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a coil for use with the embodiments of FIGS. 1-4 in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS AND THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the field of inflatable mattresses, the structures utilized to prevent the surfaces of the inflatable chamber from “bowing” or expanding too far outwards have become known as “coils,” due to the fact that the weld lines used to connect them to the interior of the inflatable chamber creates a surface that resembles the surface created by springs or coils of conventional mattresses. The term “coil” has been adopted in the inflatable mattress field because of this similar look, although their function is entirely different than conventional mattress coils. However, it has been discovered that the arrangement and design of these coils in inflatable mattresses can provide varying firmness in different areas.

FIGS. 1 and 1A illustrate a first embodiment of an inflatable support system, in this case an inflatable mattress, in accordance with the present invention. The present embodiment includes at least one inflatable support chamber 10. The inflatable support chamber 10 is made up of at least a top layer 12 of material and a bottom layer 14 of material and has an external surface 15. Additionally, a separate side gusset 16 can be utilized to connect the top 12 and bottom 14 layers. Alternatively, either the top 12 or bottom 14 layer can be made long enough to fold up and form the side panel of the inflatable chamber 10. If this construction is utilized, the top 12 and bottom 14 layers can be welded together directly, eliminating the need for a separate side gusset 16.

The inflatable mattress of the present invention also incorporates an electrically powered pump 17 configured to inflate the inflatable support chamber 10. The pump can be any type of pump known in the art for inflating inflatable mattresses. An exemplary pump 17 is pictured in the figures and disclosed in commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/084,219 and the entire disclosure of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/084,219 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

The pump 17 shown in the Figures can be used to both inflate and deflate the inflatable chamber 10, and should be able to provide enough inflation power to quickly inflate the inflatable chamber 10. Preferably, the pump 17 can inflate the inflatable chamber 10 in less than five minutes. The pump 17 can also be used to rapidly deflate the inflatable mattress. Alternatively an inflation-only pump can be used in conjunction with a release valve (not shown).

As shown in the Figures, the present invention also incorporates at least two different internal structures, or two coils, a first size 18 and a second size 20. The “size” of the coils 18, 20 can refer either to the welding pattern present on the outer surface 21 of the inflatable chamber 10, or the actual size of the substantially flat layer of material 25 that forms the coils when viewed from the interior of the inflatable mattress, as shown in FIG. 5.

The arrangement of these coils 18, 20 forms different zones of firmness. Each coil 18, 20 is formed from a substantially flat layer of material 25 formed into loop, as shown in FIG. 5. As shown in FIG. 5, the loop can be formed from two separate pieces of the material 25 attached together at weld points 23, but continuous strips of material 25 could be used as well. The loop preferably has open ends, so that air can freely pass through the interior of each coil 18, 20 when the pump 17 is operated to inflate or deflate the inflatable chamber 10. At least a portion of one side of each coil 18, 20 is attached to the top layer 12 and at least a portion of the opposite side of each coil 18, 20 is attached to the bottom layer 14. The coils 18, 20 are preferably attached by heat, adhesive or sonic welding or any other manner known to one skilled in the art. Furthermore, the welding pattern can take any shape desired, such as a weld line formed in an oval shape shown in FIGS. 1-4. Squares, circles, triangles and other shapes may also be used. In the Figures, the shapes visible on the top of the inflatable mattresses are the weld lines 27. FIG. 5 depicts an exemplary coil as substantially oval in cross-section.

As previously mentioned, the size of the coils 18, 20 can refer to one of two features. In one embodiment of the instant invention, the first size coils 18 are formed from pieces of the substantially flat material 25 such that the weld lines 27 extend nearly to the ends of the material 25, as illustrated in FIG. 5. For purposes of discussion, this will be referred to as “Method A.” Alternatively, a piece of the substantially flat material 25 could have more than one weld line 27 or shape visible on the surface 21 of the inflatable chamber 10. This will be referred to as “Method B.”

By way of illustration, in FIG. 1A, the topmost row of coils 18 could have more than one internal configuration, depending on whether Method A or Method B is utilized. For simplicity, in these examples, each coil is formed from one piece of substantially flat material 25. If two pieces were used, as is the case for the coil shown in FIG. 5, the number of pieces would double. If the coils are formed using Method A, seven separate pieces of the substantially flat material 25 are used, one for each coil. If Method B is utilized, one piece of material 25 may be used, having seven separate welds, one weld for each coil, thus forming seven separate shapes on the surface 21 of the inflatable chamber 10. Alternatively, using Method B, a different number of pieces could be used, for example, one piece with three welds and one piece with four welds. Other combinations are envisioned, and Methods A and B can be used in combination.

In order to form different firmness, or “comfort” zones, at least two different sizes of coils 18, 20 are used in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-3. The use of different coil sizes effects the firmness of the zones because of the differences in air movement within and through the different coil sizes. When weight is applied to the surface of the inflatable mattress 10, air is pushed out of the interior of the coils and exits the open ends of the coils. In the larger sized coils 20, the air must travel a greater distance in order to exit the open ends of the coils. This difference in air movement creates a different level of firmness or “feel” for a user in the different zones.

The divisions between the zones are shown as dashed lines in FIGS. 1A, 2A and 3A. These lines are for reference only; they do not depict visible weld lines. In the illustrated embodiments, the first size coil 18 is smaller than the second size coil 20. First size coils 18 are positioned in rows to create a first zone 22. A plurality of rows of first size coils 18 can be positioned parallel to each other in each first zone 22, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A. The first zone 22 can take many different positions and sizes on the surface of the inflatable chamber 10. In the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A, there are four first zones 22. In the second embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 2A, there are two first zones 22. In the third embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A, there is one first zone 22 comprised of three parallel rows of first size coils 18. The positioning of the first zones 22 can vary depending on the application. For example, in the third embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A, the large first zone 22 is positioned so that a user's back will be in the first zone 22 when the user lies on the surface of the inflatable chamber 10.

A second zone 24 is formed by utilizing second size coils 20. The weld lines 27 that are visible in the Figures extend nearly to the ends of the coils 20. The second zones 24 can be made up of just one second size coil 20 interspersed between the first zones 22, or they can be parallel groups of second size coils 20 as shown in the Figures. For example, FIGS. 1 and 1A show two second zones 24 each comprised of two parallel second size coils 20. FIGS. 2, 2A, 3 and 3A show two second zones 24 each comprised of three parallel second size coils 20.

A third size coil 26 can create a third zone 28. FIGS. 1, 1A, 2 and 2A illustrate a third size coil 26 having a greater height than the second size coils 20. An extra weld 30 can also be used to provide a different level of support in the third zone 28 made up of the third size coil 26. As is the case with the other coil sizes 18, 20 a plurality of third size coils 26 can be positioned together in the third zones 28.

FIG. 4 illustrates another alternative embodiment utilizing only first size coils 18. In this embodiment different zones 22, 24 are formed by using different numbers of columns of first size coils 18.

It should be noted that a wide range of changes could be made to the present embodiments without departing from the scope of the claimed invention. More than three different sizes or shapes of coils can be used, and the zones could be interspersed in different patterns. Different patterns and combinations of coils could be used to create combination zones made up of different-sized coils. The coils within the zones could be spaced differently as well. For example, rather than forming columns of first size coils 18 in each of the first zones 22, the coils 18 could have an alternating pattern where each row is offset from the adjacent rows. Vertical zones could also be formed using different size coils to allow for two or more users to lie side by side on different zones. As noted, the welding pattern could create different shapes on the surface of the inflatable chamber 10. Furthermore, the zones could be interspersed with channels formed from strips of material 25 that are attached to the top 12 and bottom 14 layers. To form a channel, two strips are attached parallel to each other.

The entire inflatable mattress could also be constructed in any number of shapes and sizes. Moreover, other methods known in the art can be used to attach the coils to the top 12 and bottom 14 layers of the inflatable chamber 10. Different types of material could be used to form the structures of the present invention, such as PVC or thermoplastic polyurethane. The inflatable support system could also incorporate more than one inflatable chamber 10. Furthermore, the electrically powered pump 17 could be removable or non-removably mounted to the inflatable chamber 10.

It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that it be understood that it is the following claims, including all equivalents, that are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.





 
Previous Patent: Water pad

Next Patent: Stand alone integrated cushion