Title:
Therapeutic backpack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A backpack assembly including a plurality of therapeutic elements that may be simultaneously operated by the wearer. The various therapeutic elements may include, for example, vibratory generators or elements, heating elements and electromagnetic elements. Various configurations of these therapeutic elements are possible. A power supply is further provided in the backpack assembly to provide electrical current to and operate the various therapeutic elements.



Inventors:
Mccrae, Wayne (New Haven, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/241647
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
09/30/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/644
International Classes:
A45C15/00; A45F3/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100012691Rifle CarrierJanuary, 2010Hyle
20050199661Stabilizing lanyard for optical equipmentSeptember, 2005Johnson
20090140020Wire cable reinforced carrying strapJune, 2009Schlipper
20050109804Backpack for carrying a bicycleMay, 2005Larsen et al.
20050211742Post-mounted storage caddySeptember, 2005Mapes et al.
20090159622Backpack with detachable wheelsJune, 2009Smith
20070062989Sling type baby holding carrierMarch, 2007Kassai et al.
20040094583Soft-sided carrying case with stowable shoulder straps and waist beltMay, 2004Bernbaum et al.
20060169729Convertible dual use bag for use with a portable enclosureAugust, 2006Reis
20070251964Quick connect system for a bicycle rack assemblyNovember, 2007Gunn
20040155077Combination beach towel and knapsackAugust, 2004Cullen et al.



Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A backpack assembly comprising: a body member having a compartment, said body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back; said contact portion having therapeutic elements including: an electric vibratory generator positioned in an upper portion of said contact portion; an electric heating element positioned in a middle portion of said contact portion; an electromagnetic element positioned in a lower portion of said contact portion; said therapeutic elements being simultaneously operable; at least one strap for attaching said body member to the wearer; a control system, positioned in said at least one strap, for controlling the operation of said therapeutic elements.

2. A backpack assembly comprising: a body member having a compartment, said body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back; said contact portion having therapeutic elements including: an electric heating element; and an electric vibratory generator; said therapeutic elements being simultaneously operable; and at least one strap for attaching said body member to the wearer.

3. The backpack assembly according to claim 2 wherein said electric vibratory unit is positioned in an upper part of said contact portion for providing a massaging action to the wearer's upper back.

4. The backpack assembly according to claim 2 wherein said electric heating element is positioned below said electric vibratory unit.

5. The backpack assembly according to claim 2 further comprising a control system for controlling the operation of said therapeutic elements.

6. The backpack assembly according to claim 5 wherein said control system includes multiple speed or temperature settings for various controlling said therapeutic elements.

7. The backpack assembly according to claim 5 wherein said control system is positioned in said at least one strap.

8. The backpack assembly according to claim 5 wherein said control system is a remote control system.

9. The backpack assembly according to claim 2 further comprising an electromagnetic element for providing electromagnetic stimulation to the wearer's back.

10. The backpack assembly according to claim 9 wherein said electric vibratory generator is positioned in an upper part of said contact portion, said electric heating element is positioned in a middle part of said contact portion, and said electromagnetic element is positioned in a lower part of said contact portion.

11. The backpack assembly according to claim 2 further comprising an electric power source electrically coupled to said vibratory generator and said electric heating element.

12. The backpack assembly according to claim 11 wherein said electric power source comprises a battery.

13. The backpack assembly according to claim 12 wherein said battery is positioned in a cavity in said body member.

14. The backpack assembly according to claim 12 wherein said battery is rechargeable.

15. A backpack assembly comprising: a body member having a compartment, said body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back; said contact portion having therapeutic elements including: an electromagnetic element; and an electric vibratory generator; said therapeutic elements being simultaneously operable; and at least one strap for attaching said body member to the wearer.

16. A backpack assembly comprising: a body member having a compartment, said body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back; said contact portion having therapeutic elements including: an electromagnetic element; and an electric heating element; said therapeutic elements being simultaneously operable; and at least one strap for attaching said body member to the wearer.

17. A backpack assembly comprising: a body member having a compartment, said body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back; said contact portion having therapeutic elements including: a first therapeutic element; and a second therapeutic element; said first therapeutic element being different from said second therapeutic element; and at least one strap for attaching said body member to the wearer.

18. The backpack assembly according to claim 17 wherein said first and second therapeutic elements are simultaneously operable.

19. The backpack assembly according to claim 17 wherein said first and second therapeutic elements are selected from the group consisting of: electric heating element, electric vibratory generator, and electromagnetic element.

20. The backpack assembly according to claim 17 wherein said contact portion is detachably connectable with the backpack assembly.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a backpack assembly that incorporates a therapeutic element, more specifically, a backpack assembly is provided that utilizes an electric massaging unit and an electric heating unit incorporated into the backpack assembly.

BABKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Backpacks for conveniently carrying various items have been known for many years including a variety of styles, shapes and configurations. Students in particular utilize backpacks for transporting their books and assignments to school.

The shear volume of books college students have to transport however, can take a toll on the individual's back. Increasingly, younger students have also had to transport increasing heavy loads of books to and from school, which can also lead to back fatigue and discomfort.

The heavier the load the student has to bear, the more of a tendency the individual has to lean at an angle to bear the weight load, putting increased strain on the back. This can cause tightness, discomfort or even back pain for the individual. A number of various backpack assemblies have attempted to provide relief for the wearer, however these have had limited success.

For example, some assemblies have sought, with varying degrees of success, to design the backpack itself to more equally distribute the weight of the backpack and contents across the wearer's back. While these arrangements provide a measure of relief, there is no provision to provide relief to the wearer once the wearer's back begins to bother them. For example, these systems provide no mechanism for reducing back tightness or discomfort experienced by the wearer.

One system has sought to provide a system for reducing back tightness or discomfort but with limited success. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,894,977 (“the '977 patent”) discloses a backpack assembly having a pocket formed therein for receiving thermal gradient pads to be positioned between the backpack and the wearer. The '977 patent alternatively provides for vibrational generation in place of the thermal gradient pads. However, a major drawback of the '977 patent is that wearer cannot simultaneously use both heating and vibrational generation to alleviate back stiffness and/or discomfort. Another problem with the '977 patent is that, even if the wearer desires only to utilize the heating aspect, the heating pads are only usable when heated by an external source, such as being heated by a microwave. At the end of the day, when an individual's back may be the most fatigued, the individual cannot utilize this feature without first finding some sort of heating source, which may or may not be available at a school location. Accordingly, a self-heating device is highly desirable. Another problem with the '977 patent is that the thermal gradient pads or the vibrational generation is only provided for the lumbar region of the wearer's back. It is contemplated that various locations of the back could benefit from a therapeutic device.

Accordingly, what is desired then is a backpack apparatus that can help to alleviate back tightness or discomfort.

It is also desired to provide a self-contained apparatus that may be utilized to alleviate back tightness or discomfort at the wearer's discretion.

It is further desired to provide a backpack apparatus that can provide simultaneous heating and vibrational generation to a wearer.

It is still further desired to provide a backpack apparatus that can be used to alleviate both upper and lower back discomfort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly there is provided a backpack assembly that incorporates both a vibration element and a heating element for alleviating back discomfort. It is contemplated that the wearer may simultaneously use both the heating element and vibration element as desired. The heating element, may in one advantageous embodiment, comprise an electric heating element that the wearer may operate by means of a switch. The heating element may be, for example, battery operated so that the wearer can utilized the heating element at any time.

It is further contemplated that the vibration generator may comprise, for example, an electric vibration motor. The vibration motor may include any typical vibratory motor, such as, for example, an off-axis electric motor that vibrates as the motor spins. It is contemplated that any number of vibration motors may be positioned and used to alleviate the wearer's back tightness.

In another embodiment of the present invention, may further include an electromagnetic unit for applying an electromagnetic wave to a portion of the wearer's back. This feature provides for electromagnetic stimulation of the muscles to alleviate back tightness or discomfort.

In each of these embodiments, it is contemplated that a control system may be provided for the wearer to control various therapeutic features provided to the wearer, including for example, the heating element, the vibration generator, the electromagnetic unit and combinations thereof. The control system may advantageously be located or positioned in the arm strap of the backpack assembly for easy access by the wearer. Additionally, each of the therapeutic units may be wired to a battery contact area that is contained within, for example, a small pouch on a lower side of the backpack assembly. The contact area would accept or accommodate, for example, two AA batteries for powering the components or possibly a rechargeable battery pack.

The control system may include various power adjustments, such as, for example, high, medium and low settings as well as an ON/OFF switch. It is further contemplated that the wearer may be provided with a selector switch to choose which therapeutic elements they wish to activate. It is still further contemplated that a remote control unit may be provided to control the therapeutic elements.

The backpack itself may comprise any typical construction, such as, for example, a durable nylon material and may even be provided with a reflective trim. The backpack may be provided in virtually any size, shape and design having a main storage area and any number of smaller compartments. The backpack may also utilize virtually any closure mechanism, such as, for example, zippers, buttons, snaps, buckles, clips, hook and loop (Velcro), etc.

The terms “first” and “second” are used to distinguish one element, set, data, object or thing from another, and are not used to designate relative position or arrangement in time.

The terms “coupled”, “coupled to”, and “coupled with” as used herein each mean a relationship between or among two or more devices, apparatus, components, systems, and/or means, constituting a connection, whether direct or through one or more other devices, apparatus, components, or systems.

In one advantageous embodiment, a backpack assembly is provided comprising a body member having a compartment, the body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back. The backpack assembly is provided such that the contact portion having therapeutic elements includes, an electric vibratory generator positioned in an upper portion of the contact portion, an electric heating element positioned in a middle portion of the contact portion, and an electromagnetic element positioned in a lower portion of the contact portion. The backpack assembly is also provided such that the therapeutic elements are simultaneously operable. The backpack assembly further comprises at least one strap for attaching the body member to the wearer, and a control system, positioned in the at least one strap, for controlling the operation of the therapeutic elements.

In another advantageous embodiment, a backpack assembly is provided comprising a body member having a compartment, the body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back. The backpack assembly is provided such that the contact portion has therapeutic elements including, an electric heating element and an electric vibratory generator. The backpack assembly is also provided such that the therapeutic elements are simultaneously operable. The backpack assembly further comprises at least one strap for attaching the body member to the wearer.

In still another advantageous embodiment, a backpack assembly is provided comprising a body member having a compartment, the body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back. The backpack assembly is provided such that the contact portion has therapeutic elements including, an electromagnetic element and an electric vibratory generator. The backpack assembly is also provided such that the therapeutic elements are simultaneously operable. The backpack assembly further comprises at least one strap for attaching the body member to the wearer.

In yet another advantageous embodiment, a backpack assembly is provided comprising a body member having a compartment, the body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back. The backpack assembly is provided such that the contact portion has therapeutic elements including, an electromagnetic element and an electric heating element. The backpack assembly is also provided such that the therapeutic elements are simultaneously operable. The backpack assembly further comprises at least one strap for attaching the body member to the wearer.

In still another advantageous embodiment, a backpack assembly is provided comprising a body member having a compartment, the body member including a contact portion to abut a wearer's back. The backpack assembly is provided such that the contact portion has therapeutic elements including, a first therapeutic element and a second therapeutic element. The backpack assembly is also provided such that the first therapeutic element is different from the second therapeutic element. The backpack assembly further comprises at least one strap for attaching the body member to the wearer.

It is contemplated that the contact portion containing the various therapeutic elements may further be detachably connected to the body member, such that, for example, the backpack assembly may be used as a typically backpack without the therapeutic elements attached thereto.

Other objects of the invention and its particular features and advantages will become more apparent from consideration of the following drawings and accompanying detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of an advantageous embodiment of the present invention illustrating therapeutic elements.

FIG. 2 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of another embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a front view of still another embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a front view of yet another embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the advantageous embodiment according to FIGS. 2-4.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the advantageous embodiment according to FIG. 5.

FIG. 8 is a front view of the advantageous embodiment according to FIG. 1 further showing the straps.

FIG. 9 is a back view of the advantageous embodiment according to FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding structure throughout the views.

FIG. 1 is a front view of one advantageous embodiment of backpack assembly 10. Straps are not illustrated in FIG. 1. Backpack assembly 10 as illustrated in FIG. 1 typically comprises a contact portion 14 that rests against the wearer's back and a body member 12 for the wearer to store items in. The contact portion 14 may be divided into three general portions, an upper portion 16, a middle portion 26 and a lower portion 18.

It is contemplated that various therapeutic elements may be located in the various portions. For example, a first therapeutic element 13 may be positioned within upper portion 16, a second therapeutic element 15 may be positioned within middle portion 26, and a third therapeutic element 17 may be positioned within lower portion 18. It is contemplated that virtually any configuration of various therapeutic elements may effectively be positioned in contact portion 14. While three portions 16, 26, 18 are illustrated in FIG. 1, any number of portions may be used including a fewer number or a greater number.

It is contemplated that contact portion 14 containing the various therapeutic elements (13, 15, . . . n) may further be detachably connected to body member 12, such that, for example, the backpack assembly 10 may be used as a typically backpack without the therapeutic elements (13, 15, . . . n) attached thereto.

FIG. 2 is a front view of an advantageous embodiment of backpack assembly 10 according to FIG. 1. Backpack assembly 10 as illustrated in FIG. 2 typically comprises a contact portion 14 that rests against the wearer's back and a body member 12 for the wearer to store items in. The contact portion 14 is divided into two general areas, an upper portion 16 and a lower portion 18.

In this particular embodiment, vibratory generators or elements 20 are shown located in upper portion 16. Vibratory generators or elements 20 may comprise, for example, off-axis electric motors that vibrate when an electric current is applied. There are ten total vibratory generators or elements 20 illustrated in FIG. 1, however, it is contemplated that any number of vibratory generators or elements 20 may be utilized.

Typically, vibratory generators or elements 20 will be fixedly mounted in upper portion 16, with the electrical wiring connecting the vibratory generators or elements 20 to a power source (not shown). However, it is further contemplated that the precise location of the vibratory generators or elements 20, may, in one advantageous embodiment, be adjusted as desired.

Also illustrated in FIG. 2 is heating element 22 shown located in lower portion 18. Heating elements 22 may comprise any commercially available electric heating source, such as, for example, a flexible electric heating pad. It is preferable that heating elements 22 comprise a relatively low current device as the power source (not shown) is preferably a portable power source. It is also contemplated that heating elements 22 may be removable as desired.

In this manner, the wearer can utilize two different types of therapeutic elements, the vibratory generators or elements 20, the heating elements 22, or both. The vibratory generators or elements 20 are designed to provide a massaging action to the wearer, specifically in the upper back region in this embodiment. While heating elements 22 are designed to apply heat to the lower back of the wearer. The therapeutic elements are placed near the surface of contact portion 14 to provide the maximum benefit to the wearer. It is contemplated that, the greater the weight of items carried in backpack assembly 10, the more effective the therapeutic elements will become. This is because, with increased weight in backpack, the therapeutic elements will be pressed against the wearer's back with increased force, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the elements.

Turning now to FIG. 3, another advantageous embodiment of the present invention is illustrated for backpack assembly 10. In this particular embodiment, contact portion 14 comprises an upper portion 16 including vibratory generators or elements 20 as discussed above, and a lower portion 18 including an electromagnetic elements 24.

Vibratory generators or elements 20 are similar to those described in connection with FIG. 2 and therefore will not be re-described here.

Electromagnetic elements 24 are designed to provide electromagnetic stimulation to the muscles of the wearer's back. Electromagnetic elements 24 may comprise any commercially available electromagnetic stimulating device. While electromagnetic elements 24 are generically illustrated as two rectangular members, one on each side of lower portion 18, electromagnetic elements 24 will typically be configured as a series of electrical leads or contacts positioned at or near the surface of lower portion 18. In this manner, not only can the wearer provide a massaging action to the wearer's back, they can also provide for electromagnetic simulation of the muscles in the lower back.

Referring now to FIG. 4, still another advantageous embodiment of backpack assembly 10 is illustrated. In this particular embodiment, contact portion 14 comprises an upper portion 16 including heating elements 22 and a lower portion 18 including an electromagnetic elements 24. Both of these therapeutic elements operate in a manner as described above.

FIG. 5 illustrates yet another advantageous embodiment of the present invention showing backpack assembly 10 including all of the therapeutic elements. In this advantageous embodiment, contact portion 14 is divided into upper portion 16, middle portion 26 and lower portion 18. Upper portion 16 includes vibratory generators or elements 20. Middle portion 26 includes heating elements 22, while lower portion 18 includes electromagnetic elements 24. In this manner, all of the therapeutic elements may effectively be used separately or simultaneously as desired by the wearer.

FIG. 6 is a side view of backpack assembly 10 according to the embodiments described in connection with FIGS. 2-4. For example, backpack assembly 10 is illustrated comprising contact portion 14 and a body member 12 provided for storage of items. Contact portion 14 is provided for including a first therapeutic element 28 and a second therapeutic element 30. It is contemplated that first and second therapeutic elements 28, 30 may comprise any of the above described therapeutic elements in connection with FIGS. 2-4.

As illustrated in FIG. 6, contact portion 14 may further include padding, which may be positioned behind the therapeutic elements to as not to impede the function of these devices. In this manner, the padding may provide relief for the wearer, but not compromise the effectiveness of the therapeutic elements.

Also illustrated in FIG. 6 is strap 32, which is shown extending from a top point 34 of contact portion 14 to a bottom point 36 of contact portion 14. Strap 32 may comprise any type of typical backpack strap and may or may not include padding. Typically, strap 32, like body member 12 and contact portion 14, will comprise a durable nylon material.

Also provided at a top portion of body member 12, is a handle 38, which may comprise a durable nylon material, being provided for ease of gripping backpack assembly 10 when not being worn. A plurality of pockets 40 are further illustrated on an exterior surface of body member 12. The pockets 40 are provided for storage of various items. These may include, for example, a pocket for containing a cell phone, pens or pencils, money or change, books, paper, folders, and other various paraphernalia. Pockets 40 may be provided open at the top, have flaps or covers, or include closure mechanisms, such as, for example, zippers, snaps, buttons, hook and loop connections, etc. The pockets 40 may also be provided as a solid fabric comprising a sturdy nylon or may comprise a mess, so that the wearer may easily see the contents of the pocket 40 without having actually open it to determine the contents. It is contemplated that virtually any configuration of pockets 40 may effectively be utilized in connection with body member 12.

Also shown at a lower part 42 of body member 12 is power source 44. Power source 44 may comprise a battery that is insertable into a cavity provided in body member 12. It is contemplated that power source 44 may comprise, for example, two AA batteries. However, it is contemplated that power source may include any size battery or batteries, and further may comprise a rechargeable battery or batteries.

Referring now to FIG. 7, an alternate embodiment is illustrated corresponding to FIG. 5. In this embodiment, backpack 10 is provided having a first, second and third therapeutic elements 28, 30, 46 respectively. In this manner, the wearer may have all of the therapeutic elements variously positioned in contact portion 14 for selective use. The remaining features of backpack 10 shown in FIG. 6 are similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6 and therefore will not be redescribed here.

FIG. 8 illustrates a front view of backpack 10 showing straps 32. Positioned on the right hand strap 32, is a control system 48. Control system 48 is provided for controlling the various therapeutic elements. It is contemplated that control system 48 may comprise and ON/OFF switch 50. Control system 48 may further comprise a power selection including HIGH 52, MEDIUM 54 and LOW 56 switches. In this manner, the wearer may be able to select from among the various settings to select a vibration speed, a temperature and/or an electromagnetic intensity for the various therapeutic elements.

Also provided on control system 48, is selector switch 58, which may be used to variously select which therapeutic elements the wearer desires to activate. For example, the wearer may want to activate the vibratory units but not the heating element, accordingly, the wearer simply selects the control for vibratory units only. In this manner, the wearer is afforded complete control of the therapeutic elements. While control system 48 is illustrated as positioned on right-hand strap 32, it is contemplated that it may effectively be positioned anywhere on backpack assembly 10 in a manner convenient for the wearer.

FIG. 9 is a back view of backpack assembly 10 illustrating one advantageous configuration of pockets 40. Also shown in FIG. 9 is power source 44 located at a bottom of body member 12. It should be noted that while power source 44 is illustrated as located at the bottom of body member 12, it may effectively be located anywhere, such as, along the sides of body member 12. It is merely contemplated that the electrical wires (not shown) must extend from power source 44 to control system 48, and then onto the various therapeutic elements.

Also illustrated in FIG. 9 is reflective material 60, which may comprise any type of reflective material. This may advantageously be provided to reflect light, for example, the headlights of a car, directed at backpack assembly 10 providing an important safety feature.

Although the invention has been described with reference to a particular arrangement of parts, features and the like, these are not intended to exhaust all possible arrangements or features, and indeed many other modifications and variations will be ascertainable to those of skill in the art.