Title:
Body mitt and apparatus for molding the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A body mitt has top and bottom surfaces adapted for skin care applications, a cuff portion, and two oppositely disposed lateral thumb openings defined between the top and bottom surfaces proximate to the cuff portion. The body mitt also has an interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of its top or bottom surface and adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use. The top and bottom surfaces, the cuff portion, the thumb openings, and the interior pocket are integrally molded via an appropriately configured injection molding apparatus.



Inventors:
Snyder, Bruce A. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/291427
Publication Date:
05/31/2007
Filing Date:
11/30/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D19/01
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DEMILLE, DANTON D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bruce A. Snyder (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface; a bottom skin care surface; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion; and at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of said top skin care surface and adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

2. The body mitt of claim 1, wherein said at least one lateral thumb opening includes a reinforced outer edge.

3. The body mitt of claim 2, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

4. The body mitt of claim 3, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening which feels soft to the touch.

5. The body mitt of claim 4, wherein said cuff portion includes a reinforced outer edge.

6. The body mitt of claim 5, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said cuff portion.

7. The body mitt of claim 6, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening which feels soft to the touch.

8. The body mitt of claim 7, wherein said top surface includes a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide brush-like appearance.

9. The body mitt of claim 8, wherein said bottom surface includes a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use.

10. The body mitt of claim 9, wherein the portable vibrator is held snugly by the walls of said at least one integral interior pocket via frictional fit.

11. The body mitt of claim 10, wherein said frictional fit prevents the portable vibrator from slipping out of said at least one integral interior pocket during use.

12. The body mitt of claim 11, wherein the thickness of the walls of said at least one integral interior pocket is configured for effective transmission of vibration.

13. The body mitt of claim 12, wherein said top and bottom skin care surfaces, said cuff portion, said at least one lateral thumb opening, and said at least one integral interior pocket are molded from elastomeric material.

14. The body mitt of claim 13, wherein said elastomeric material includes vinyl.

15. The body mitt of claim 13, wherein said elastomeric material includes stretchy silicone.

16. The body mitt of claim 13, wherein said elastomeric material includes synthetic rubber.

17. An apparatus for molding a body mitt, comprising: a top portion; a bottom portion, said top and bottom portions configured respectively to mold integrally a pair of oppositely disposed body mitt thumb openings, a body mitt cuff portion, and two body mitt skin care surfaces; and a middle insert operatively sandwiched between said top and bottom portions and adapted to mold integrally at least one interior pocket on the inside of at least one of said two skin care surfaces, wherein said at least one interior pocket is adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

18. The molding apparatus of claim 17, wherein said middle insert is made of two overlapping portions adapted to accommodate a plurality of cooling lines feeding at a terminal end thereof.

19. The molding apparatus of claim 17, wherein said at least one interior pocket is adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

20. The molding apparatus of claim 17, wherein said middle insert includes a first section of a substantially rectangular configuration, and a second section of a substantially arcuate configuration.

21. The molding apparatus of claim 20, wherein said middle insert further includes an elongated depression disposed at the border of said first and second sections.

22. The molding apparatus of claim 21, wherein said elongated depression is adapted to form a substantially rounded thickening on the inside of a cuff portion outer edge of the body mitt for reinforcement purposes.

23. The molding apparatus of claim 22, wherein said second section of said middle insert includes at least one substantially half-circular depression.

24. The molding apparatus of claim 23, wherein said at least one half-circular depression is adapted to form a substantially rounded thickening on the inside of a thumb opening outer edge of the body mitt for reinforcement purposes.

25. The molding apparatus of claim 24, wherein said second section of said middle insert further includes an arch-like recessed portion.

26. The molding apparatus of claim 25, further comprising a removable plate shaped substantially like said arch-like recessed portion.

27. The molding apparatus of claim 26, wherein said arch-like recessed portion and said removable plate are used in combination to mold integrally said at least one interior pocket.

28. The molding apparatus of claim 27, wherein said removable plate is held in place over said arch-like recessed portion during molding via at least one magnet built into said arch-like recessed portion.

29. The molding apparatus of claim 28, wherein each of said top and bottom portions is recessed at one end to accommodate said first section of said middle insert during injection molding.

30. The molding apparatus of claim 29, wherein said top portion is secured over said bottom portion via integral fasteners.

31. The body mitt of claim 1, wherein at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces is adapted for use in body massage.

32. The body mitt of claim 1, wherein at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces is adapted for use in body cleansing.

33. The body mitt of claim 1, wherein at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces is adapted for use in exfoliation scrub activities.

34. The body mitt of claim 1, wherein said at least one integral interior pocket is adapted to lie substantially flat with the inside of said top skin care surface when not used as a containment structure for the portable vibrator.

35. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide soft brush-like appearance; a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of proportionally arranged raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion.

36. The body mitt of claim 35, wherein said raised cells are made of intersecting and outwardly projecting cell walls, wherein outward projection is defined as pointing substantially away from said bottom skin care surface, said outwardly projecting cell walls acting as squeegees when said textured surface is used on the skin of the user.

37. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein said raised cells are arranged substantially in a diagonal pattern bounded on all sides by a continuous outwardly projecting terminal wall.

38. The body mitt of claim 35, wherein said at least one lateral thumb opening includes a reinforced outer edge.

39. The body mitt of claim 38, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

40. The body mitt of claim 39, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

41. The body mitt of claim 35, wherein said cuff portion includes a reinforced outer edge.

42. The body mitt of claim 41, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said cuff portion.

43. The body mitt of claim 42, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

44. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially diamond-shaped cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion.

45. The body mitt of claim 44, wherein said substantially diamond-shaped cells are made of intersecting and outwardly projecting cell walls, wherein outward projection is defined as pointing substantially away from said bottom skin care surface, said outwardly projecting cell walls acting as squeegees when said textured surface is used on the skin of the user.

46. The body mitt of claim 45, wherein said cells are arranged in a substantially diagonal pattern bounded on all sides by a continuous outwardly projecting terminal wall.

47. The body mitt of claim 44, wherein said at least one lateral thumb opening includes a reinforced outer edge.

48. The body mitt of claim 47, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

49. The body mitt of claim 48, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

50. The body mitt of claim 44, wherein said cuff portion includes a reinforced outer edge.

51. The body mitt of claim 50, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said cuff portion.

52. The body mitt of claim 51, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

53. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture configured for spreading liquid cleansing media over the skin of a user, said zigzag-like texture defining a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the flow of liquid cleansing media over the skin of the user; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion.

54. The body mitt of claim 53, wherein said at least one lateral thumb opening includes a reinforced outer edge.

55. The body mitt of claim 54, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

56. The body mitt of claim 55, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

57. The body mitt of claim 53, wherein said cuff portion includes a reinforced outer edge.

58. The body mitt of claim 57, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said cuff portion.

59. The body mitt of claim 58, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

60. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of raised cells arranged in a substantially rectangular pattern and adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion.

61. The body mitt of claim 60, wherein said rectangularly arranged cells are made of intersecting and outwardly projecting cell walls, wherein outward projection is defined as pointing substantially away from said bottom skin care surface, said outwardly projecting cell walls acting as squeegees when said textured surface is used on the skin of the user.

62. The body mitt of claim 61, wherein said rectangularly arranged cells are bounded on all sides by a continuous outwardly projecting terminal wall.

63. The body mitt of claim 60, wherein said at least one lateral thumb opening includes a reinforced outer edge.

64. The body mitt of claim 63, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

65. The body mitt of claim 64, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

66. The body mitt of claim 60, wherein said cuff portion includes a reinforced outer edge.

67. The body mitt of claim 66, wherein said outer edge is reinforced on the inside of said cuff portion.

68. The body mitt of claim 67, wherein said inside reinforcement is provided in the form of a substantially rounded thickening that is soft to the touch.

69. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface; a bottom skin care surface; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion; and at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of said bottom skin care surface and adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

70. A body mitt, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture defining a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the spreading of abrasive exfoliation media over the skin of a user; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion.

71. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein said retained abrasive exfoliation media is prevented from rolling across the skin of the user by said cell walls during application, said cell walls causing interlocking of retained exfoliation media particles, said interlocked exfoliation media particles being dragged over the skin of the user to generate efficient abrasive action.

72. The body mitt of claim 45, wherein said retained abrasive exfoliation media is prevented from rolling across the skin of the user by said cell walls during application, said cell walls causing interlocking of retained exfoliation media particles, said interlocked exfoliation media particles being dragged over the skin of the user to generate efficient abrasive action.

73. The body mitt of claim 61, wherein said retained abrasive exfoliation media is prevented from rolling across the skin of the user by said cell walls during application, said cell walls causing interlocking of retained exfoliation media particles, said interlocked exfoliation media particles being dragged over the skin of the user to generate efficient abrasive action.

74. The molding apparatus of claim 17, wherein at least one of said top and bottom portions is configured on one side to form a textured body mitt surface in combination with said middle insert during injection molding.

75. The molding apparatus of claim 74, wherein said texture configuration of said at least one of said top and bottom portions includes a plurality of solid block-like molding obstructions, each of said solid block-like molding obstructions having at least one pointed end.

76. The molding apparatus of claim 74, wherein said pointed ends are oriented in the direction of molten molding compound flow to avoid air entrapment during injection molding.

77. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface; a bottom skin care surface, at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces being adapted for use in body massage; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces and adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

78. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface; a bottom skin care surface, at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces being adapted for use in body cleansing; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces and adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

79. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface; a bottom skin care surface, at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces being adapted for use in exfoliation scrub activities; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of at least one of said top and bottom skin care surfaces and adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

80. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide soft brush-like appearance; a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of proportionally arranged raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; and a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

81. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially diamond-shaped cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; and a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

82. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture configured for spreading liquid cleansing media over the skin of a user, said zigzag-like texture defining a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the flow of liquid cleansing media over the skin of the user; and a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

83. A body glove, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of raised cells arranged in a substantially rectangular pattern and adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; and a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces.

84. A finger cot, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide soft brush-like appearance; and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of proportionally arranged raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user.

85. A finger cot, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially diamond-shaped cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user.

86. A finger cot, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; and a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture configured for spreading liquid cleansing media over the skin of a user, said zigzag-like texture defining a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the flow of liquid cleansing media over the skin of the user.

87. A finger cot, comprising: a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use; and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of raised cells arranged in a substantially rectangular pattern and adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells having a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user.

88. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein said abrasive exfoliation media clings into said cells turning said textured bottom surface into a flexible abrasive surface that conforms to the contours of the body of the user, said flexible abrasive surface being substantially non-clogging.

89. The body mitt of claim 88, wherein said flexible abrasive surface distributes pressure exerted by the hand of the user over a great number of abrasive exfoliation media particles to decrease gouging with a substantially uniform removal of dead skin.

90. The body mitt of claim 89, wherein said flexible abrasive surface enables the user to exercise aggressive stroking without gouging to effect a substantially quick and efficient dead skin removal.

91. The body mitt of claim 90, wherein said flexible abrasive surface is adapted to extend the useful life of retained abrasive exfoliation media.

92. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein each of said top and bottom skin care surfaces is adapted to protect the hand of the user from abrasion by exfoliation media.

93. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein said outwardly projecting cells walls define a matrix of flexible squeegees, said flexible squeegees conforming to the contours of the body of the user to facilitate a substantially uniform spreading of a thin layer of lotion, massage oil, and shower gel.

94. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein the outermost edges of said outwardly projecting cells walls are substantially flat.

95. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein the outermost edges of said outwardly projecting cells walls are substantially rounded.

96. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein the outermost edges of said outwardly projecting cells walls are substantially knife-edged.

97. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein the outermost edges of said outwardly projecting cells walls are substantially serrated.

98. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein the outermost edges of said outwardly projecting cells walls are configured to control the amount of fluid being left behind in said raised cells.

99. The body mitt of claim 36, wherein said open-box cells are adapted to act as reservoirs, said reservoirs supplying fluid to the skin of the user as said textured bottom surface is stroked over the skin of the user.

100. The body mitt of claim 99, wherein said reservoirs are adapted to deform and collapse when said textured bottom surface is pressed against the skin of the user, said deformed and collapsed reservoirs causing fluid contained in said open-box cells to move toward the outer edges of said cells and to be spread by the edges of said squeegees.

101. The body mitt of claim 100, wherein said reservoirs are progressively emptied by increasing the amount of pressure needed to collapse said cells.

102. The body mitt of claim 70, wherein said abrasive exfoliation media is prevented from rolling across the skin of the user by a plurality of zigzag walls of said channels during application, said channel walls causing interlocking of exfoliation media particles, said interlocked exfoliation media particles being dragged over the skin of the user to generate efficient abrasive action.

103. The body mitt of claim 102, wherein said abrasive exfoliation media clings into said channels and turn said textured bottom surface into a flexible abrasive surface that conforms to the contours of the body of the user, said flexible abrasive surface being substantially non-clogging.

104. The body mitt of claim 103, wherein said flexible abrasive surface distributes pressure exerted by the hand of the user over a great number of abrasive exfoliation media particles to decrease gouging with a substantially uniform removal of dead skin.

105. The body mitt of claim 104, wherein said flexible abrasive surface enables the user to exercise aggressive stroking without gouging to effect a substantially quick and efficient dead skin removal.

106. The body mitt of claim 105, wherein said flexible abrasive surface is adapted to extend the useful life of abrasive exfoliation media.

107. The body mitt of claim 106, wherein each of said top and bottom skin care surfaces is adapted to protect the hand of the user from abrasion by exfoliation media.

108. A body mitt, comprising: a first surface; a second surface disposed substantially opposite said first surface, at least one of said first and second surfaces having a plurality of raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface, each of said raised cells adapted to retain abrasive exfoliation media when said textured surface is used on the skin of a user; a cuff portion extending away from said top and bottom skin care surfaces; and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between said top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to said cuff portion.

109. The body mitt of claim 108, wherein said retained abrasive exfoliation media is prevented from rolling across the skin of the user by the walls of said raised cells during application, said cell walls causing interlocking of retained exfoliation media particles, said interlocked exfoliation media particles being dragged over the skin of the user to generate efficient abrasive action.

110. The body mitt of claim 108, wherein said first surface is a plain surface.

111. The body mitt of claim 108, wherein said second surface is a plain surface.

Description:

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Portions of the disclosure of this patent document may contain material that is subject to copyright and/or mask work protection. The copyright and/or mask work owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and/or mask work rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

Body massage mitts made of elastomeric material are conventionally made by a dip molding process. Particularly, metal dies are made in reverse so as the mitt is stripped from the die, the mitt is turned right side out. Prior to stripping the mitt from the die, it is lubricated with powder to prevent snagging as the mitt drags against itself while being stripped from the die. After removal from the die, the body mitt is trimmed to size at the cuff, and thumb openings are cut into the side of the mitt. Sharp edges and material weakness around the edges result from this process with the mitt being easily torn at the thumb openings when pulled off the hand.

There is no easy way to selectively reinforce around the thumb openings using the dip molding process. To overcome this inherent material weakness around the edges of the thumb openings, manufacturers have been increasing the overall thickness of the body mitt, which, unfortunately, makes the final product relatively heavy and more costly to produce.

Body mitts adapted to hold a vibrator internally have traditionally been made by gluing a separate molded part to the inside of the mitt. Achieving a permanent bond that will stand up to stretching and flexing has always been problematic and costly. When no vibrator is present, the separately molded parts that hold vibrators extend up into the mitt cavity and are generally uncomfortable or cumbersome to the touch.

Individuals traditionally use exfoliation media to remove dead surface skin cells and stimulate the body to grow new softer skin cells, as well as to put emollients into the skin to make it smooth and soft. In the medical arena this process is known as dermabrasion and many methods have been devised to remove surface skin. To date, skin exfoliators are typically applied by hand with no devices being available to make the process more efficient other than thin rubber gloves that are used to protect the hands from being abraded. Exfoliators most commonly contain granulated sugar or salt in an oil base. To prevent exfoliation media from sticking and balling up on the skin during application, water is often mixed into the exfoliation media instead of oil. The added water dissolves the sugar or salt crystals, which are the media responsible for the abrasive process, thereby compromising the exfoliation process itself.

Industrial use of abrasive media suspended in oil or water is quite common, whereby surface particles that are being reduced or polished would stick and clog up the abrasive media itself. Devices used to convey the media over the surface to be abraded or polished typically spin with hair or cloth that moves the abrasive media. Abrasive slurry is applied to the surface and worked with a spinning disc. These devices lack reservoirs to contain abrasive slurry and do not embody squeegees. There are currently two methods to use abrasive media, glued fast, as in sandpaper, or freely moving as in polishing compounds.

Using sugar or salt-based exfoliation scrubs which are mixed with oil is cumbersome to use and is mainly practiced in spa settings where the exfoliation media is applied by hand by a professional masseuse. A considerable amount of exfoliation media is wasted, i.e. rolls off the body during such application. This is particularly the case during self-administered use in a home setting where the application is typically done in the bath or shower. Oily exfoliation media may fall on the floor and create a slip-and-fall hazard.

It would be desirable to utilize an abrasive methodology which is generally a cross between the two known methods. Particularly, the abrasive media would be confined, yet still able to move resulting in a more effective way to overcome the clogging problem of sandpaper and other glued-on abrasive media devices. In such a method, abrasive media particles would rub against other media particles within an enclosed area thereby releasing abraded material into an associated water or oil solution.

SUMMARY

Some embodiments disclosed herein are generally directed to a body mitt and apparatus for molding the same.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the body mitt comprises a top skin care surface, a bottom skin care surface, a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion. The body mitt further comprises at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of the top skin care surface. The interior pocket is adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the body mitt comprises a top skin care surface, a bottom skin care surface, a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion. The body mitt further comprises at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of the bottom skin care surface. The interior pocket is adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, an apparatus for molding a body mitt comprises a top portion and a bottom portion. The top and bottom portions are configured respectively to mold integrally a pair of oppositely disposed body mitt thumb openings, a body mitt cuff portion, and two body mitt skin care surfaces. The apparatus also comprises a middle insert operatively sandwiched between the top and bottom portions. The middle insert is adapted to mold integrally at least one interior pocket on the inside of at least one of the two skin care surfaces. The interior pocket is adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, the body mitt comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide soft brush-like appearance, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of proportionally arranged raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body mitt also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, the body mitt comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially diamond-shaped cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body mitt also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the present invention, the body mitt comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture configured for spreading liquid cleansing media over the skin of a user. The zigzag-like texture defines a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the flow of liquid cleansing media over the skin of the user. The channels are also adapted to enhance the spreading of abrasive exfoliation media over the skin of a user. The body mitt also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion.

In accordance with a different aspect of the present invention, the body mitt comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of raised cells arranged in a substantially rectangular pattern. The raised cells are adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body mitt also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion.

In accordance with a still different aspect of the present invention, a body glove comprises a top skin care surface, and a bottom skin care surface, with at least one of the top and bottom skin care surfaces being adapted for use in body massage, body cleansing or exfoliation scrub activities. The body glove also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one interior pocket integrally formed on the inside of at least one of the top and bottom skin care surfaces. The interior pocket is adapted to securely hold a portable vibrator during use.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a body glove comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide soft brush-like appearance, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of proportionally arranged raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body glove also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces.

In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, a body glove comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially diamond-shaped cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body glove further comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a body glove comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture configured for spreading liquid cleansing media over the skin of a user. The zigzag-like texture defines a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the flow of liquid cleansing media over the skin of the user. The body glove further comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, a body glove comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of raised cells arranged in a substantially rectangular pattern and adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body glove also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the present invention, a finger cot comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially long and thin bristles adapted to provide soft brush-like appearance, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of proportionally arranged raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a finger cot comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially diamond-shaped cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user.

In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, a finger cot comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface provided with a zigzag-like texture configured for spreading liquid cleansing media over the skin of a user. The zigzag-like texture defines a plurality of channels adapted to enhance the flow of liquid cleansing media over the skin of the user.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a finger cot comprises a top skin care surface populated with a plurality of substantially short bristles adapted to provide enhanced stimulation during use, and a bottom skin care surface populated with a plurality of raised cells arranged in a substantially rectangular pattern and adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells has a substantially open-box configuration configured to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user.

In accordance with a different aspect of the present invention, a body mitt comprises a first surface and a second surface disposed substantially opposite the first surface. At least one of the first and second surfaces has a plurality of raised cells adapted to provide the appearance of a textured surface. Each of the raised cells is adapted to retain abrasive exfoliation media when the textured surface is used on the skin of a user. The body mitt also comprises a cuff portion extending away from the top and bottom skin care surfaces, and at least one lateral thumb opening defined between the top and bottom skin care surfaces proximate to the cuff portion.

These and other aspects of the invention will become apparent from a review of the accompanying drawings and the following detailed description of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is generally shown by way of reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a body mitt in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the body mitt of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view showing the body mitt of FIG. 1 turned inside out;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of a body mitt in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention with the body mitt being worn by a user;

FIG. 5 is a bottom perspective view of the body mitt of FIG. 4 with the body mitt being worn by the same user;

FIG. 6 is a top perspective view of a body mitt in accordance with yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view of the body mitt of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a top perspective view of a body mitt in accordance with still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a bottom perspective view of the body mitt of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a top perspective view of a body mitt in accordance with a further exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a bottom perspective view of the body mitt of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a top view of an apparatus for molding a body mitt in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a bottom view of the molding apparatus of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is an exploded view of the molding apparatus of FIG. 12;

FIG. 15 shows the molding apparatus of FIG. 12 in a partially disassembled state;

FIG. 16 is a top perspective view of one component of the molding apparatus of FIG. 12;

FIG. 17 shows the component of FIG. 16 being prepared for molding a body mitt in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 18 is a side view of a molding apparatus in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of exemplary embodiments and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the exemplary embodiments may be constructed and/or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the exemplary embodiments in connection with the illustrated embodiments. However, it is to be understood that the same or equivalent functions and/or sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Some embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to a body mitt and apparatus for molding the same, as generally shown in FIGS. 1-18. Additional embodiments, features and/or advantages of the invention will become apparent from the ensuing description or may be learned by practicing the invention. In the figures, the drawings are not to scale with like numerals referring to like features throughout both the drawings and the description.

FIGS. 1-3 generally show a body glove or mitt 20 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Body mitt 20 may be molded from suitable elastomeric material(s), such as, but not limited to vinyl, stretchy silicone, synthetic rubber and/or the like. Body mitt 20 may be used to massage or cleanse the body using a suitable lubricant such as baby oil, massage oil, shower gel, exfoliation scrub, body lotion or the like.

Body mitt 20 extends over the hand of a user exposing the thumb via one of two oppositely disposed lateral openings 22, 24, respectively, while completely covering the remaining fingers. Each of thumb openings 22, 24 is reinforced on the inside of its respective outer edge for durability. In this regard, FIG. 3 generally depicts a somewhat rounded thickening 25 that reinforces the inside of outer edge 21 (FIG. 3) of thumb opening 22. A person skilled in the art would readily appreciate that the provision of two (oppositely disposed) thumb openings (22, 24) allows the use of body mitt 20 on either hand, as needed.

Body mitt 20 includes a cuff portion 26 (FIGS. 1-3) which is also reinforced on the inside of its outer edge 23 (FIG. 3) for durability. In this regard, FIG. 3 generally shows a somewhat rounded and elongated thickening 27 that reinforces the inside of outer edge 23 of cuff portion 26, as well as on the inside of the outer edge of each thumb opening (22, 24), respectively. A person skilled in the art would appreciate that rounded edges generally exhibit a more finished, cleaner look, as well as feel soft to the touch compared to conventional punched out edges which are slightly serrated and thus somewhat rough to the touch, as well as prone to premature wear and tear. The provision of reinforced rounded openings for the thumb and cuff portions makes for a sleek appealing body mitt product that is also strong and effective when used in accordance with the general principles of the present invention.

Body mitt 20 also includes top and bottom skin care surfaces 28, 30 (FIGS. 1-2), respectively. Each of top and bottom surfaces 28, 30 (FIGS. 1-2) may be adapted for use in body massage and/or cleansing.

Top surface 28 (FIG. 1) is populated with relatively long nubs or bristles 29 which are integrally formed thereon during the molding process. Long bristles 29 are generally longer and thinner than conventional body massage implements so that top surface 28 appears softer and more brush-like to the user. Bottom surface 30 (FIG. 2) is populated, in turn, with relatively short nubs or bristles 31 which are also integrally formed thereon during the molding process. Short bristles 31 are designed to provide enhanced stimulation during use.

The number of bristles on each side of body mitt 20 is generally greater than conventional body massage implements to ensure more effective use of each mitt side during a body massage or cleansing activity. The feeling imparted when using body mitt 20 is relatively more gentle and soothing due to the increase in length and number of bristles. When used with soap or shower gel, this increase in length and number of bristles promotes bubbling action as the mitts (one worn on each hand) are rubbed together or over the skin to generate lather.

An interior pocket 32 is integrally formed on the inside of top surface 28 during the molding process. Interior pocket 32 is adapted to hold a portable vibrator (not shown), as needed. With no vibrator inserted, interior pocket 32 lies substantially flat with the inside of top surface 28 because of its integral molding construction. This makes body mitt 20 easy to use without a vibrator. When fully inserted in pocket 32, the vibrator is held snugly (via friction) by the walls of integral interior pocket 32.

This frictional fit prevents the inserted vibrator from moving around and/or slipping out of interior pocket 32 during use. The thickness of the stretchy molded pocket walls is designed for effective transmission of vibration. A person of skill in the art would recognize that finger and hand mobility is not lost during massage activities since the vibrator is securely trapped inside integral mitt pocket 32. By molding, instead of separately attaching, interior pocket 32 on the inside of top surface 28, a smoother and less obtrusive vibrator containment structure is readily achieved.

FIGS. 4-5 generally illustrate a body glove or mitt 40 in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Body mitt 40 extends over the hand of a user 42 exposing thumb 44 via one of two oppositely disposed lateral openings 46, 48, respectively, while completely covering the remaining fingers. Each of thumb openings 46, 48 is reinforced, in the manner generally shown and described hereinabove in reference to FIG. 3, on the inside of its respective outer edge (47, 49) for durability. Body mitt 40 may be used on one hand with thumb 44 being inserted in either lateral opening 46, or lateral opening 48, as needed (FIGS. 4-5). Body mitt 40 includes a cuff portion 50 which is also reinforced, in the manner generally shown and described hereinabove in reference to FIG. 3, on the inside of its outer edge 51 for durability.

Body mitt 40 comprises top and bottom skin care surfaces 52, 54, respectively. Top surface 52 (FIG. 4) is generally configured like top surface 28 of FIG. 1. Bottom surface 54 (FIG. 5) is provided with a plurality of proportionally arranged and generally raised cells 56 made of intersecting and outwardly (away from bottom surface 54) projecting cell walls, respectively. For example, cell 57 on diagonal row 58 is made of outwardly bulging (raised) cell walls 60, 62, 64 and 66, whereby each of cell walls 60 and 64 intersects cell walls 62 and 66, respectively, as generally depicted in reference to FIG. 5. Each of raised cells 56 has a substantially open-box configuration with the cells being arranged in a generally diagonal pattern that is bounded on all sides by a continuous outwardly projecting terminal wall 68 (FIG. 5). The overall look and feel is that of a textured surface that is well suited for application of abrasive exfoliation media on the skin of user 42.

Textured bottom surface 54 (FIG. 5) retains exfoliation scrub which is used to remove dead skin cells. The retained exfoliation scrub is dragged over the skin of the user and prevented from rolling across the skin by the raised cell walls during application. Exfoliation scrub (media) clings into cells 56 of body mitt 40 turning bottom mitt surface 54 into a flexible abrasive surface that conforms to the contours of the body and is non-clogging. Open-box cells 56, when filled with exfoliation media, inhibit the same from rolling across the skin and cause exfoliation media particles to interlock (with themselves) and be dragged over the skin surface effecting a more efficient abrasive action. Flexible abrasive surface 54 distributes pressure exerted by the hand of a user over a great number of abrasive particles, thereby decreasing gouging with a substantially uniform removal of dead skin. Flexible abrasive surface 54 enables more aggressive stroking without gouging to effect a quicker and more efficient dead skin removal.

As the bottom side of body mitt 40 is stroked across the skin, the exfoliation media moves with the mitt and stays with the mitt as it is removed from the skin. Only a relatively small amount of exfoliation media is left behind on the skin. This is in contrast to traditional hand application method(s) in which the exfoliation media stays on the skin and is just moved around somewhat with stroking motions of the hand. Body mitt 40 extends the useful life of the abrasive exfoliation media being used as it retains the same in cells 56 for continuing use over various parts of the body. With proper use of body mitt 40, exfoliation media stays trapped in the mitt and dramatically reduces the amount of exfoliation media that is wasted by falling to the floor.

Rubber gloves are commonly used by masseuses at spa settings to prevent severe abrasion of the hands by exfoliation media. Body mitt 40 eliminates this hazard and the need to use protective gloves as the mitt walls provide a safe barrier between the exfoliation media and the hand. Confining the abrasive exfoliation media into raised cells 56 improves the speed and effectiveness by which skins cells are removed. The exfoliation media is retained by cells 56, dragged across the surface of the skin for the most part and prevented from rolling off.

During a typical hand application, without restraint, much of the abrasive exfoliation media tumbles and rolls along the surface of the skin with only a limited amount of abrasive media sticking to the skin and being dragged across. The inefficiency of the hand application method has led to the use of relatively large abrasive media or grit that sometimes gouges the skin rather than uniformly removing the surface of dead skin. With abrasive media confined in raised cells 56 of body mitt 40, the use of much finer media affords the same amount of skin removal as course media applied by hand and without deep gouging. Body mitts with fine media may be used much more aggressively and with greater pressure since fine media is too small to gouge and create abrasions. Body mitt 40 removes more uniformly just the surface skin without gouging.

Textured bottom surface 54 (FIG. 5) allows raised cells 56 to act as reservoirs while the outwardly projecting side walls of cells 56 act as squeegees. Specifically, the outwardly projecting side walls of cells 56 define a matrix of flexible squeegees that conform to body contours which facilitates the uniform spreading of a thin layer of lotion, massage oil, shower gel and/or the like. The outermost edge of the cell wall may be flat, rounded, knife edged, serrated, or of any other configuration suitable to control the amount of fluid left behind.

When raised cells 56 are filled with lotion, massage oil, shower gel and/or the like, they function as reservoirs that supply liquid to the skin surface as bottom surface 54 (FIG. 5) is stroked over the skin by a user. When textured bottom surface 54 is molded from suitable elastomeric material(s), these reservoirs deform and collapse when surface 54 is pressed against the skin causing the lubricant or lotion contained in each cell (56) to move toward the outer edges of the cell and be spread by the squeegee edges. Raised cells 56 may be progressively emptied by increasing the amount of pressure used to collapse the cells. Alternatively, body mitt 40 may be tapped against the skin or another mitt to move liquid toward the squeegee edges for spreading.

More lotion can be applied to cells 56 in one step than can be applied traditionally by hand as the walls of cells 56 generate surface tension that holds the liquid that is being spread. Spreading oil or lotion over the skin by hand requires repeated stroking to even out the distribution as the hand provides no method to precisely control how much liquid is left behind. When using body mitt 40, excess lotion on the skin surface is skimmed and deposited back into cells 56 while a thin film is left behind on the surface of the skin. Moreover, spreading lotions, oils, and shower gels over the skin via textured bottom surface 54 of body mitt 40 enhances and simplifies the traditional hand-spreading process.

FIGS. 6-7 generally illustrate a body glove or mitt 70 in accordance with yet another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Body mitt 70 is configured generally like body mitt 40 of FIGS. 4-5 except for the provision of different surface pattern/texture on its top and bottom skin care surfaces 72, 74, respectively. Top surface 72 (FIG. 6) is configured largely like bottom surface 30 of FIG. 2. Bottom surface 74 (FIG. 7) is textured somewhat differently compared to textured bottom surface 54 of FIG. 5, while preserving substantially the same functionality.

Particularly, bottom surface 74 (FIG. 7) is provided with a plurality of proportionally arranged generally diamond-shaped raised cells 76 made of intersecting and outwardly (away from bottom surface 74) projecting cell walls, respectively. Each of cells 76 is open at the top with the cells being arranged generally in a diagonal pattern that is bounded on all sides by a continuous outwardly projecting terminal wall 78 (FIG. 7). Cells 76 (FIG. 7) are somewhat larger in size than cells 56 of FIG. 5. The overall look and feel is that of a textured surface that is well suited for application of abrasive exfoliation media on the body of a user. Textured bottom surface 74 is able to retain exfoliation scrub. The retained exfoliation scrub is dragged over the skin of the user and prevented from rolling across the skin by the cell walls during application.

Exfoliation scrub (media) clings into raised cells 76 making textured bottom surface 74 into a flexible abrasive surface that conforms to the contours of the body and is non-clogging. Raised cells 76, when filled with exfoliation media, inhibit the same from rolling across the skin and cause exfoliation media particles to interlock (with themselves) and be dragged over the skin surface effecting a more efficient abrasive action. Flexible abrasive surface 74 distributes pressure exerted by the hand of a user over greater numbers of abrasive particles, thereby decreasing gouging with a substantially uniform removal of dead skin. Flexible abrasive surface 74 enables more aggressive stroking without gouging to effect a quicker and more efficient dead skin removal.

Textured bottom surface 74 (FIG. 7) allows raised diamond-shaped cells 76 to act as reservoirs while the outwardly projecting side walls of cells 76 act as squeegees. Specifically, the outwardly projecting side walls of cells 76 define a matrix of flexible squeegees that conform to body contours which facilitates the uniform spreading of a thin layer of lotion, massage oil, shower gel and/or the like. The outermost edge of the cell wall may be flat, rounded, knife edged, serrated, or of any other configuration suitable to control the amount of fluid left behind.

When raised diamond-shaped cells 76 are filled with lotion, massage oil, shower gel and/or the like, they function as reservoirs that supply liquid to the skin surface as bottom surface 74 (FIG. 7) is stroked over the skin by a user. When textured bottom surface 74 is molded from suitable elastomeric material(s), these reservoirs deform and collapse when surface 74 is pressed against the skin causing the lubricant or lotion contained in each cell (76) to move toward the outer edges of the cell and be spread by the squeegee edges. Raised diamond-shaped cells 76 may be progressively emptied by increasing the amount of pressure used to collapse the cells. Alternatively, body mitt 70 may be tapped against the skin or another mitt to move liquid toward the squeegee edges for spreading. More lotion can be applied to cells 76 in one step than can be applied traditionally by hand as the walls of cells 76 generate surface tension that holds the liquid that is being spread.

FIGS. 8-9 generally illustrate a body glove or mitt 80 in accordance with still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Body mitt 80 is configured generally like body mitt 70 of FIGS. 6-7 except for the provision of a different surface pattern/texture on its bottom skin care surface. Top skin care surface 82 (FIG. 8) is configured largely like top surface 72 of FIG. 6. Bottom skin care surface 84 (FIG. 9), however, is textured differently compared to textured bottom surface 74 of FIG. 7.

Specifically, bottom surface 84 is provided with a zigzag-like texture/pattern 86 made of proportionally spaced and outwardly (away from bottom surface 84) projecting zigzag-like walls 87, 88, 90, 92, 94, 96, 98 (FIG. 9). Zigzag pattern 86 is bounded on two sides by discontinuous outwardly projecting terminal walls, such as, for example, terminal walls 100, 102, 104, 106 of FIG. 9. Textured bottom surface 84 may be used to spread a thin film of shower gel or lotion over the skin of a user. Outwardly bulging zigzag walls 87, 88, 90, 92, 94, 96, 98 (FIG. 9) are spread apart to define channels (e.g., channel 101) there between which help increase the flow of shower gel or lotion over the skin of the user. These channels may also be used effectively in abrasive exfoliation media applications. Textured bottom surface 84 is flexible enough to conform to the contours of the body during application of lotion, shower gel or abrasive exfoliation media.

FIGS. 10-11 generally illustrate a body glove or mitt 120 in accordance with a further exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Body mitt 120 is configured generally like body mitt 70 of FIGS. 6-7 except for the provision of different surface pattern/texture on its bottom skin care surface. Top skin care surface 122 (FIG. 10) is configured largely like top surface 72 of FIG. 6. Bottom skin care surface 124 (FIG. 11) is textured somewhat differently than bottom surface 74 of FIG. 7, while preserving substantially the same functionality.

Specifically, bottom surface 124 (FIG. 11) is provided with a plurality of proportionally arranged generally box-like cells 126 made of intersecting and outwardly (away from bottom surface 124) projecting cell walls, respectively. Each of cells 126 is open at the top with cells 126 being arranged generally in a rectangular pattern that is bounded on all sides by a continuous outwardly projecting terminal wall 128 (FIG. 11). Textured bottom surface 124 is well suited for the application of abrasive exfoliation media on the body of a user. Textured bottom surface 124 is able to retain exfoliation scrub which is used to remove dead skin cells. The retained exfoliation scrub is dragged over the skin of the user and prevented from rolling across the skin by the cell walls during application. Exfoliation scrub (media) clings into box-like cells 126 turning bottom textured surface 124 into a flexible abrasive surface that conforms to the contours of the body and is non-clogging.

Textured bottom surface 124 (FIG. 11) allows box-like cells 126 to act as reservoirs while the outwardly projecting side walls of cells 126 act as squeegees. Specifically, the outwardly projecting side walls of cells 126 define a matrix of flexible squeegees that conform to body contours which facilitates the uniform spreading of a thin layer of lotion, massage oil, shower gel and/or the like. The outermost edge of the cell wall may be flat, rounded, knife edged, serrated, or of any other configuration suitable to control the amount of fluid left behind.

When box-like cells 126 are filled with lotion, massage oil, shower gel and/or the like, they function as reservoirs that supply liquid to the skin surface as bottom surface 124 (FIG. 11) is stroked over the skin by a user. When textured bottom surface 124 is molded from suitable elastomeric material(s), these reservoirs deform and collapse when surface 124 is pressed against the skin causing the lubricant or lotion contained in each cell (126) to move toward the outer edges of the cell and be spread by the squeegee edges. Box-like cells 126 may be progressively emptied by increasing the amount of pressure used to collapse the cells. Alternatively, body mitt 120 may be tapped against the skin or another mitt to move liquid toward the squeegee edges for spreading. More lotion can be applied to cells 126 in one step than can be applied traditionally by hand as the walls of cells 126 generate surface tension that holds the liquid that is being spread.

FIGS. 12-18 illustrate various aspects of an apparatus 130 for injection molding a body mitt of the type generally described hereinabove. Molding apparatus 130 is assembled from a top portion 132, a bottom portion 134, and a middle insert 136, which is sandwiched there between, as generally shown in reference to FIGS. 12-15, 18. Middle insert 136 is made of two overlapping portions 137, 139 (FIG. 14) adapted to accommodate a plurality of cooling lines 141 (FIGS. 12-18) feeding at a terminal end thereof.

Top portion 132 (FIG. 15) is configured on one side to form a textured body mitt surface, as generally shown, for example, in reference to FIGS. 2, 6, 8, 10. Top portion 132 is also configured on the same side to form the top half of the right and left thumb openings, as well as the top half of the cuff section of a body mitt constructed in accordance with the general principles of the present invention. Particularly, interior surface 142 of top portion 132 includes a body mitt surface texture-forming section 144 (FIG. 15), top right and left thumb opening-forming sections, such as thumb section 146, and top cuff-forming section 148. Section 144 is configured to form the texture (during the injection molding process) on the top surface of a body mitt constructed in accordance with the present invention.

Bottom portion 134 (FIGS. 14-15) is configured on one side to form the bottom half of the thumb, cuff and body mitt surface texture sections, respectively. A person skilled in the art would appreciate that each of the top and bottom texture-forming sections may be configured to generate (during the injection molding process) any one of the body mitt textured surfaces shown generally in reference to FIGS. 1-11. Other surface texture/pattern designs or configurations may be utilized, as long as there is no departure from the intended purpose of the present invention. Top portion 132, bottom portion 134 and middle insert 136 may be made of metal and/or other suitable material(s), as needed.

Top and bottom portions 132, 134 are recessed at one end (FIG. 15) to accommodate a first section 150 (FIGS. 15-17) of middle insert 136. First section 150 has a generally rectangular configuration with cooling lines 141 feeding at a terminal end therein. A second section 152 (FIGS. 15-17) of middle insert 136 has a generally arcuate configuration with a front end 153 (FIG. 16) adapted to shape the front (finger) portion of a body mitt constructed in accordance with the general principles of the present invention.

An elongated depression 154 (FIGS. 15-16) disposed at the border between first and second sections 150, 152 is adapted to form the somewhat rounded and thickened inside edge portion 27 on the inside of outer edge 23 of cuff portion 26 (FIG. 3), during the injection molding process. A generally half-circular depression 155 (FIGS. 16-17) on a thumb forming cutout portion 157 (FIGS. 16-17) of second section 152 of middle insert 136 is adapted to form the somewhat rounded and thickened portion 25 on the inside of outer edge 21 of thumb opening 22 (FIG. 3), during the injection molding process. Another oppositely disposed half-circular depression 159 (FIGS. 16-17) on a thumb forming cutout portion 161 (FIGS. 16-17) of second section 152 is adapted to mold the somewhat rounded and thickened portion on the inside of the outer edge of the respective thumb opening on the opposite side of a body mitt constructed in accordance with the general principles of the present invention.

A person of skill in the art would appreciate that thickening only the inside of the thumb and cuff openings during the injection molding process contributes to a reduced overall weight of the mitt when compared with conventional body mitts. Such mitts have greater mass and weight as a result of the need to thicken the entire mitt for durability during the dip process. These integral reinforcements on the inside of the thumb and cuff opening outer edges make the body mitt of the present invention aesthetically pleasing and durable.

An arch-like recessed portion 156 (FIG. 16) on second section 152 of middle insert 136 and an associated removable plate 158 (FIG. 15), which is shaped substantially like recessed portion 156, are utilized to mold the interior integral body mitt pocket (e.g. interior pocket 32, FIG. 3) of the present invention. Removable plate 158 is secured in place over recessed portion 156 during the injection molding process via magnetic coupling. Particularly, a magnet 160 is built into like recessed portion 156, as generally depicted in FIG. 16. A back portion 162 (FIG. 17) of removable plate 158 is held by built-in magnet 160 within an appropriately recessed area 164 (FIG. 17) on second section 152 such that removable plate 158 is flush with top surface 166 (FIG. 17) of middle insert 136 during the injection molding process. Various other suitable means of removably attaching plate 158 over arch-like recessed portion 156 (FIG. 16) may be utilized, as needed.

Middle insert 136 may be readily configured to mold an integral pocket on the inside of either surface (bottom or top), or on both surfaces (bottom and top) of the body mitt of the present invention, as needed. The molding compound (e.g., liquid vinyl) is injected at high temperature via a front channel 168 (FIG. 15) on bottom portion 134 and cooled via cooling lines 141 with top portion 132, bottom portion 134 and middle insert 136 assembled, as shown in FIGS. 12-13, 18. Top portion 132 may be secured over bottom portion 134 via integral fasteners, such as fasteners 170a, 170b in FIG. 14.

During the injection molding process air bubbles may occasionally become entrapped into the molten plastic (molding compound) as it fills the mold cavity defined by top portion 132, bottom portion 134, and middle insert 136 (FIG. 15). Depending on the color and/or design of the final product, these entrapped air bubbles may be visible to the extent that product appearance may be affected. Entrapment of air may occur when a stream of molten plastic flows around obstructions in the mold cavity and then abruptly comes into contact with other streams of molten plastic.

One example may be when the molten plastic flow is split into two streams as it goes around a solid block-like molding obstruction of square or rectangular cross-section. In such case, the two streams of molten plastic crash or merge into one while filling the void between adjacent obstructions, entrapping air. Such molding obstructions may be used, for example, to generate the rectangular raised cell pattern of textured bottom surface 124 of FIG. 11.

It has been found during testing of molding apparatus 130, that air entrapment may be avoided by orienting the pointed ends of these solid obstructions in the direction of molten plastic flow or fill, enabling air to escape as the streams of molten plastic merge during the fill of the mold cavity. Such orientation is present, for example, in the diamond-like cell pattern of textured bottom surface 74 of FIG. 7, as well as in the generally diagonal cell pattern of textured bottom surface 54 of FIG. 5. In each embodiment (FIG. 5 and FIG. 7), two oppositely disposed (pointed) corners from each cell are oriented generally in the direction of molten plastic flow. The molten plastic is injected via front channel 168 (FIG. 15) toward first section 150 (FIG. 15).

The exemplary embodiments described hereinabove are merely illustrative of the general principles of the present invention. Various design modifications may be employed that would reside within the scope of the invention. For example, each of the embodiments described generally hereinabove in reference to FIGS. 1-11, as well as combinations of these embodiments, may be implemented in body gloves or finger cot(s) in accordance with the general principles of the present invention. Moreover, each of the embodiments described generally hereinabove in reference to FIGS. 1-11 may be modified to include only one skin care surface, with the other mitt/glove/finger cot surface being plain, as needed. Thus, by way of example, but not of limitation, various alternative configurations may be utilized in accordance with the teachings herein. Accordingly, the drawings and description are illustrative and not meant to be a limitation thereof.

Moreover, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced. Thus, it is intended that the invention cover all embodiments and variations thereof as long as such embodiments and variations come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.