Title:
Elastic hand and digit exercise device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand and digit exercise device having a core section of elastic material surrounding and defining an open space, a plurality of elastic finger loops separate from and disposed about said core section and sized to receive digits of a hand and an elastic connection arm extending between each of said finger loops and said core section whereby said finger loops are attached to said core section at various location around the open space in the core section.



Inventors:
Ott, Wolfgang (Antioch, CA, US)
Adam, David (Brentwood, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/607183
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
11/30/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/47
International Classes:
A63B23/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GANESAN, SUNDHARA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
H. Michael Brucker (Emeryville, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A finger exercise device, comprising: a core section of elastic material surrounding and defining an open space; a plurality of elastic finger loops separate from and disposed about said core section and sized to receive digits of a hand; and an elastic connection arm extending between each of said finger loops and said core section whereby said finger loops are attached to said core section.

2. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein; said open space of said core section is large enough to receive two digits of one hand at the same time and elastic enough to permit said core section to be stretched by spreading the digits so inserted.

3. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein each said elastic finger loop has a relaxed state when no force is applied to distort its shape and said elastic finger loop has a generally elliptical shape when in its relaxed state.

4. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein said opening in said core section has a relaxed state when no force is applied to distort its shape and said opening has a generally elliptical shape when in its relaxed state.

5. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein said opening in said core section has a relaxed state when no force is applied to distort its shape and said opening has a generally circular shape when in its relaxed state.

6. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein said finger loops are non-symmetrically disposed about said core section.

7. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein a plurality of said finger loops are disposed along one-half of the perimeter of said core section and one finger loop is disposed along the other half of the perimeter of said core section.

8. The finger exercise device of claim 7 wherein no two of said finger loops disposed about said core section lie on a common diameter.

9. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein a plurality of said finger loops are generally equally spaced about said core section.

10. The finger exercise device of claim 9 wherein no two of said finger loops disposed about said core section lie on a common diameter.

11. The finger exercise device of claim 4 further comprising an elastic web member affixed to said core section within said open space.

12. The finger exercise device of claim 11 wherein said web member has a generally V-shape.

13. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein a plurality of said finger loops are disposed about said core section, with a first two of said finger loops disposed in opposition on a common diameter of said opening of said core section, a second two of said finger loops disposed between said first two finger loops on one side of said opening in said core section and one finger loop disposed between said first two finger loops on the other side of said opening in said core section.

14. The finger exercise device of claim 11 wherein a plurality of said finger loops are disposed about said core section, with a first two of said finger loops disposed in opposition on a common diameter of said opening of said core section, a second two of said finger loops disposed between said first two finger loops on one side of said opening in said core section and one finger loop disposed between said first two finger loops on the other side of said opening in said core section.

15. The finger exercise device of claim 1 wherein said core section has a non-uniform cross-section whereby its elasticity is non-isotropic.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention broadly relates to devices for exercising hands and their digits (fingers).

People who use their hands for prolonged periods on repetitive tasks, such as operating computers, writing, etc., can develop repetitive stress injuries (RSI). A form of therapy that has been used to combat RSI comprises stretching a conventional thick rubber band between two or more fingers and repeatedly spreading the fingers against the tension of the rubber band. However, a rubber band is difficult to use because its simple loop provides limited options for exercises. A simple rubber band also tends to slip from its initial position when the digits are repeatedly spread apart.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a finger exercise device having a core section of elastic material surrounding and defining an open space, a plurality of elastic finger loops separate from and disposed about the core section and sized to receive digits of a hand and an elastic connection arm extending between each of the finger loops and the core section whereby the finger loops are attached to the core section.

While described by its component parts, the present invention is most advantageously formed into a single unified piece of elastomeric material by a molding process, as is well known in the art.

The exercise device of the present invention permits a variety of different exercises to be performed using two or more digits of a hand whereby a multiplicity of hand and digit maladies can be addressed with a single device by repeatedly spreading apart the digits in the finger loops against the tension of the loops, arms and core. The core can be cylindrical in shape with a varying height wherein opposing ends of the core are wider than the intermediate portions for improved grip and comfort on inserted digits.

The foregoing and other embodiments, features and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood upon consideration of the following detailed description of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the invention of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line A-A of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line B-B of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment of the invention wherein the finger loops are equally spaced about the core;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of yet another embodiment of my invention wherein the core section has an elliptical shape;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the invention of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the lines A-A of FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken along the line of B-B of FIG. 7;

FIG. 11 is a plan view of yet another embodiment of my invention wherein the central core has a web member;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the invention of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view taken along the line A-A of FIG. 11; and

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of another embodiment of my invention having a core section opening not large enough to receive digits of a hand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a preferred embodiment of an elastic hand and digit exercise device 11 of the present invention includes a core section 12 of elastic material surrounding and defining an open space 13 large enough to receive two or more digits of a hand (not shown). The core section 12 is elastic enough to be stretchable by the separation of two or more digits within the space 13.

A plurality of elastic finger loops 14 are separate from and disposed about the core section 12 and sized to receive a digit of a hand. An elastic connection arm 16 extends between each finger loop 14 and core section 12 whereby the finger loops 14 are attached to the core section 12. In one embodiment, the connecting arms 16 have a generally rectangular cross-section (see FIG. 4), but with rounded corners 16a to prevent tearing when stressed.

In its relaxed condition (no forces applied to it), core section 12 has a generally cylindrical shape with a generally circular cross-section.

As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the generally cylindrical-shaped core section 12 has opposing wall sections 12a and 12b that have a greater height than the intermediate wall sections 12c and 12d. Wall sections 12a and 12b provide a comfortable and secure location for two digits inserted into space 13 to apply force on the core section 12 in performing an exercise, while the reduced height wall sections 12c and 12d allow the core section 12 to be stretchable by the separation of digits in space 13. By having a non-uniform height, core section 12 has an elasticity that is non-isotropic.

The relaxed state of the finger loops 14 is generally elliptical, which permits the loops 14 to secure digits of varying sizes and, at the same time, prevent the loops 14 from sliding off of the initial position on the digits while exercises are being performed. The sections 14a of the loops 14 distal from the core section 12 are of greater height than the sections 14b closer to connecting arm 16, whereby digits inserted into the loops 14 have a comfortable location at which to apply pressure during exercises.

A pull tab 17 can be advantageously secured to the outboard end of each finger loop 14 to assist in placing the loop over a digit or removing it therefrom.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, there are four finger loops 14 secured at locations along one-half of the circumference of the core section 12 and a fifth finger loop 14 disposed at a location on the other half of the perimeter of the core section 12. In one embodiment of the invention, the four finger loops 14 disposed about one-half of the perimeter are equally spaced from each other and the fifth loop 14 on the other half of the perimeter is generally equally spaced from all of the other loops 14. In addition, in one embodiment of the invention as shown, no two finger loops 14 lie on a common diameter of the core section 12.

The configuration of finger loops about the core section 12 as described above provides a device which, when fit over the digits of one hand, exercises certain portions of the hand when the digits of the hand are separated against the tension of the various components of the device 11. A different spacing of the finger loops 14 about the core section 12 would provide a different exercise for a hand. A simple exercise for any two digits of a hand is provided by the core section 12 which is sufficiently elastic to permit two digits inserted in the space 13 to be separated against tension of the core section 12 and thereby perform an exercise function.

The amount of force required to conduct any exercise performed with the device 11 is a function of the elasticity of the materials used for each component, as well as the size of the core section 12. By adjusting these variables, those skilled in the art are able to provide a device 11 which best matches the needs of an individual hand and its malady.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, in an alternative embodiment of the invention, the finger loops 14 are attached to the core section 15 by connection arms 16 at generally equally spaced locations about the core section 15. The five finger loops 14 provide an exercise device whereby all, or less than all, of the digits of a hand can be engaged at the same time, depending on the exercise required. The different spacing of finger loops 14 about the core section 15 in the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, as compared to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, causes different forces to be applied to a hand and its digits when they work against the restraints of the device.

The core section 15 is a right cylinder of uniform height.

Referring to FIGS. 7-10, in another embodiment of the invention, the elastic core section 22 has a generally elliptical shape in its relaxed state and two of the finger loops 23 and 24 lie along the major axis 26 of the elliptical-shaped core section 22. The space 25 within and defined by core section 22 is large enough to receive two or more digits of a hand and elastic enough to be stretchable by separating the digits. It will occur to those skilled in the art that the arrangement of finger loops about the core section 22, as shown in FIG. 7, can be duplicated in embodiments having a core section with a circular cross-section, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5. The embodiment of FIG. 7 is particularly well suited for a two-digit exercise wherein the digits are secured in finger loops 23 and 24.

The connecting arms 20 attaching each finger loop 23, 24, 27, 28 and 29 to core section 22 have a generally circular cross-section (see FIG. 10).

Referring to FIGS. 11 and 13, in yet another embodiment of the invention, an exercise device 35 has a generally v-shaped web member 31 connected to core section 32 within the space 30 surrounded and defined by core section 32. Finger loops 33 are attached by connecting arms 34 to core section 32. The v-shaped web member 31 subdivides the space 30 within core section 32 into three spaces 30a, 30b and 30c. In the preferred embodiment, spaces 30a and 30b are large enough to receive digits of a hand which can be exercised by then alternatively separating and relaxing them against the restraining force of the core section 32. Depending on the stress pattern desired, space 30c can be left empty or filled in with elastic material. The web member 31 creates a different resistance pattern for the device 35 than, for example, the device of the embodiment of FIG. 7, which has no internal web member in its core space 25. By carefully engineering the characteristics of the web member 31, it is possible to create an exercise device that distributes forces that specifically meet the needs of a particular hand and/or digit malady.

Referring to FIG. 14, another embodiment of the invention includes a plurality of elastic finger loops 41 connected to an elastic core section 42 that defines and surrounds an open space 43. The finger loops 41 are disposed about the core section 42 and attached thereto by elastic connecting arms 44. In this embodiment, the finger loops are shown as having a generally circular shape, although it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that finger loops having a generally elliptical shape could be substituted. The space 43 in core section 42 is not designed to receive digits, but plays an important function, as do all of the spaces within core sections in the various embodiments described above.

By providing a core section having an internal open space, together with individual connecting arms between the finger loops and core section, as has been described in connection with each of the embodiments, the forces applied on these components, and thus on the digits being exercised, are more evenly distributed, producing a better exercise and reducing the failure rate of components of the device.

Of course, various changes, modifications and alterations in the teachings of the present invention may be contemplated by those skilled in the art without departing from the intended spirit and scope thereof. As such, it is intended that the present invention only be limited by the terms of the appended claims.