Title:
NECK CHAIR WITH ARM RESTS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system is provided for anatomically accommodating a user during the use of a reclinable chair. Structurally, the system includes a base clamp that is mounted to the chair and that defines a first axis. Further, the system includes an intermediate clamp connected to the base clamp and defining a second axis. Also, the system includes a pivot defining a pivot point. In order to support the arm of a user, an arm rest is connected to the pivot. With the cooperation between the components of the system, the arm rest can be selectively positioned with respect to the chair to anatomically accommodate the user. Specifically, the arm rest is positioned by selectively rotating the pivot about the pivot point, the pivot point about the second axis, and the second axis about the first axis.



Inventors:
Boyko, Robert M. (Tustin, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/671217
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
02/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/54
View Patent Images:
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20080100118DYNAMIC HEADRESTMay, 2008Young et al.
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20090001795Fold Flat Seat AssemblyJanuary, 2009Homier et al.
20020096929Portable massage chair converterJuly, 2002Showerman
20060261659Adjustable arm and armrest assemblyNovember, 2006Dykes
20090200851HEAD AND/OR NECK SUPPORTAugust, 2009Link
20100060044TRAY TABLE ASSEMBLYMarch, 2010Pozzi et al.



Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NYDEGGER & ASSOCIATES (SAN DIEGO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for anatomically accommodating a user during the use of a chair, said system comprising: a support member fixed to the chair; a base clamp mounted to the support member, said base clamp defining a first axis; a cantilever having a first end and a second end, with said first end being fixed to the base clamp; an intermediate clamp connected to the second end of the cantilever, said intermediate clamp defining a second axis, with said second axis being substantially parallel to the first axis; an extension arm having a first end and a second end, with said first end being fixed to the intermediate clamp; a pivot connected to the second end of the extension arm, with said pivot defining a pivot point; and an arm rest mounted to the pivot, with said arm rest being rotatable about the pivot point, said pivot point being rotatable about the second axis, said second axis being rotatable about the first axis, and said base clamp being movable along the first axis to establish a position and orientation for the arm rest relative to the chair to anatomically accommodate the user.

2. A system as recited in claim 1 wherein the support member serves as a leg for the chair.

3. A system as recited in claim 1 wherein the pivot is formed by a ball and socket, and the pivot point is at the center of the ball.

4. A system as recited in claim 1 wherein the chair includes a back portion comprising a frame and a covering extended across the frame to support the user, and wherein the system further includes a collar connected to and suspended by said covering, and further wherein said collar provides a void in the covering to accommodate a user's face.

5. A system as recited in claim 4 wherein said collar comprises a first track and a second track distanced from and substantially parallel to the first track to bound the void, and said system further comprises a head support slidingly connected to the first and second tracks to adjust the position of the void.

6. A system as recited in claim 4 further comprising a tray connected to the back portion of the chair for use by the user when lying facedown on the surface, with said tray being positionable substantially directly below the void in the covering.

7. A system for anatomically accommodating a user during the use of a chair defining an axis, said system comprising: a mechanical means for positioning a pivot at a predetermined distance from, and angle to, the axis of the chair, with said positioning means being mounted to the chair, and with said pivot defining a pivot point and being rotatable about the pivot point; and an arm rest mounted to the pivot, with said arm rest being rotatable about the pivot point to establish an orientation for the arm rest relative to the chair to anatomically accommodate the user.

8. A system as recited in claim 7 further comprising a mechanical means for positioning a second pivot at a predetermined spatial relationship to the chair, with said positioning means being mounted to the chair, and with said second pivot defining a second pivot point and being rotatable about the second pivot point; and a second arm rest mounted to the second pivot, with said second arm rest being rotatable about the second pivot point to establish an orientation for the second arm rest relative to the chair to anatomically accommodate the user.

9. A system as recited in claim 7 wherein the positioning means comprises: a base clamp mounted to the chair, said base clamp defining a first axis; and an intermediate clamp interconnected between the base clamp and the pivot, said intermediate clamp defining a second axis, with said second axis being substantially parallel to the first axis, and with said pivot point being rotatable about the second axis, said second axis being rotatable about the first axis, and said base clamp being movable along the first axis to establish a position and orientation for the arm rest relative to the chair to anatomically accommodate the user.

10. A system as recited in claim 7 wherein the chair includes a surface comprising a frame and a covering connected to the frame to support the user, and wherein the system further comprises a means for providing a void in the covering to accommodate the user's face when the user lies facedown on the surface, and a means for adjusting the position of the void in the covering to cooperate with the arm rest to anatomically accommodate the user.

11. A system as recited in claim 10 further comprising a tray connected to the back portion of the chair for use by the user when lying facedown on the surface, with said tray being positionable substantially directly below the void in the covering.

12. A system for anatomically accommodating a user during the use of a chair having a surface for supporting the user, said system comprising: a means for providing a void in the surface of the chair to receive the user's face when the user lies facedown on the surface of the chair; a means for positioning a pivot at a predetermined distance from, and angle to, the void, with said positioning means being mounted to the chair, and with said pivot defining a pivot point and being rotatable about the pivot point; and an arm rest mounted to the pivot, with said arm rest being rotatable about the pivot point to establish an orientation for the arm rest relative to the void to anatomically accommodate the user.

13. A system as recited in claim 12 further comprising a means for adjusting the position of the void in the covering to cooperate with the arm rest to anatomically accommodate the user.

14. A system as recited in claim 12 further comprising: a means for positioning a second pivot at a predetermined spatial relationship to the void, with said second pivot defining a second pivot point and being rotatable about the second pivot point; and a second arm rest mounted to the second pivot, with said second arm rest being rotatable about the second pivot point to establish an orientation for the second arm rest relative to the void to anatomically accommodate the user.

15. A system as recited in claim 12 wherein the positioning means includes a base clamp mounted to the chair, with said base clamp defining a first axis, and wherein the positioning means further includes means for establishing a radial distance between the first axis and the pivot point and means for locating the pivot point in an axial relationship to the void.

16. A system as recited in claim 12 wherein the positioning means comprises: a base clamp mounted to the chair, said base clamp defining a first axis; and an intermediate clamp interconnected between the base clamp and the pivot, said intermediate clamp defining a second axis, with said second axis being substantially parallel to the first axis, and with said pivot point being rotatable about the second axis, said second axis being rotatable about the first axis, and said base clamp being movable along the first axis to establish a position and orientation for the arm rest relative to the chair to anatomically accommodate the user.

17. A system as recited in claim 12 wherein the chair includes a frame and a covering extended across the frame to serve as the surface, and wherein the providing means includes a collar connected to and suspended by said covering, and further wherein said collar defines the void in the surface.

18. A system as recited in claim 17 wherein said collar comprises a first track and a second track distanced from and substantially parallel to the first track to bound the void, and said system further comprises a head support slidingly connected to the first and second tracks to provide for selective adjustment of the position of the void.

19. A system as recited in claim 12 wherein the chair includes a seat portion, a back portion pivotably connected to the seat portion, and a prop arm pivotably connected to the back portion and engageable with the seat portion to hold the back portion at a desired angle to the seat portion, and wherein the system further comprises a tray pivotably connected to the prop arm for use by the user when lying facedown on the surface, with said tray being positionable substantially directly below the void in the surface when said back portion and said seat portion are substantially coplanar.

20. A system as recited in claim 19 wherein the tray has a first orientation in which the tray and the prop arm are substantially coplanar, and a second orientation in which the tray is substantially parallel to the back portion of the chair and the prop arm is disengaged from the seat portion of the chair.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/765,784, filed Feb. 7, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains generally to systems and methods for supporting a person on an article of furniture. More particularly, the present invention pertains to a system for accommodating a person lying facedown on a reclined chair. The present invention is particularly, but not exclusively, useful as a system for providing proper anatomical support to a person lying facedown on a reclined chair.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Adjustable chairs for supporting people in a variety of poses are well known. Specifically, chairs commonly used around pools are adjustable between orientations designed to support people whether seated, or partially or fully reclined. Often, people choose to lie in a prone position on such chairs. However, these chairs are typically uncomfortable for people when lying facedown. Specifically, these chairs require a prone user to turn his/her head to a side. Further, these chairs often flex toward the center of the person, causing uncomfortable pressure on the person.

Moreover, a person lying prone on a reclined chair typically cannot perform activities such as reading or writing since his/her arms are constrained to his/her side. To turn a page in a book or to use a writing instrument, the person must slide his/her shoulder to the edge of the chair and hang his/her arm below himself/herself to perform the task. While this may be acceptable for an infrequent action, it typically makes reading or writing while in a comfortable prone position impossible. Further, it causes stress on the person's head and spine.

In light of the above, it is an object of the present invention to provide a system for anatomically accommodating a person lying prone on a reclined chair. It is another object of the present invention to provide a system for supporting the arms of a prone person. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a system for supporting the head of a prone person. Still another object of the present invention is to provide a system that allows selection of the position and orientation of arm rests and a head support for a prone person. Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a system for providing anatomical support to a person which is easy to use, relatively simple to implement, and comparatively cost effective.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a system for anatomically accommodating a person while lying facedown on a reclined chair. More specifically, the system is designed to accommodate the position of the person's face and to provide support to the person's arms to give proper anatomical support to the person when resting on the surface of the chair.

Structurally, the system includes two arm rests that can be placed at a desired spatial relationship to the chair. Specifically, each arm rest is provided with an adjustable mount. For purposes of the present invention, the adjustable mount includes a support member that is fixed to the chair. Further, the mount includes a base clamp that engages the support member, and defines a base axis. Connected to the base clamp is a cantilever that extends to an intermediate clamp that defines an intermediate axis. This intermediate axis is preferably parallel to the base axis. In addition to the support member, base clamp, cantilever and intermediate clamp, the mount includes an extension arm that is fixed to the intermediate clamp. The extension arm terminates at a pivot, such as a ball and socket joint, that defines a pivot point. Moreover, the mount includes a bracket that is connected to the pivot and connects to an arm rest.

In addition to the arm support, the system also provides for proper anatomical support for the person's head. Specifically, the system includes a collar that is connected to and suspended from the surface of the chair. In order to allow the person to lie facedown on the surface of the chair, the collar provides a void in the surface to accommodate the person's face. Structurally, the collar includes a pair of parallel tracks that are interconnected by cross bars. Further, the system includes a head support that slidingly connects to the tracks to allow the position of the void to be adjusted to the person's anatomy.

In operation, the person may lie facedown on the reclined chair and slide the head support to a desired position. Thereafter, the person may slide the base clamp along the base axis to a desired height. Further, for each arm rest, the person may rotate the intermediate axis about the base axis, and the pivot point about the intermediate axis to position the pivot point at a desired radially distance and angle from the support member. Also, the person may rotate the arm rest about the pivot point to attain a desired orientation of each arm rest. In this manner, the system provides for proper anatomical support of the person.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a system for anatomically accommodating a user during the use of a reclinable chair in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the adjustable mount of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an overhead view of the back portion of the chair showing the details of the collar shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4A is a side view of the chair of FIG. 1 shown in the seated orientation with the tray of the present invention in its stored configuration; and

FIG. 4B is a side view of the chair of FIG. 4A shown in the fully reclined orientation with the tray of the present invention in its in-use orientation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, a system for anatomically accommodating a user in accordance with the present invention is shown and generally designated 10. As shown, the system 10 is for use with a typical reclinable chair 12. Structurally, the chair 12 includes a substantially planar seat portion 14 comprised of a rectangular frame 16. Further, the chair 12 includes a substantially planar back portion 18 that is pivotably mounted to the seat portion 14 to pivot about a reclining axis 20. Similar to the seat portion 14, the back portion 18 is comprised of a rectangular frame 22. As shown, a covering 24 formed by flexible straps 24′ is stretched across the frames 16, 22 of the seat portion 14 and the back portion 18 to provide a surface 26 for supporting a seated or reclining person.

In FIG. 1, the system 10 is shown to include arm rests 28 that can be fixed at a desired spatial relationship to the chair 12 to provide support for a user's arms. For purposes of the present invention, adjustable mounts 30 are provided to connect the arm rests 28 to the chair 12. Specifically, each adjustable mount 30 is mounted directly to a support member 32 that is fixed to the chair 12. In certain embodiments, the support member 32 may serve as a leg for the chair 12. Cross referencing FIG. 1 with FIG. 2, the components of the adjustable mount 30 can be understood. As shown in FIG. 2, the adjustable mount 30 includes a base clamp 34 that engages the support member 32. Specifically, the base clamp 34 forms an opening 36 that defines a base axis 38 and receives the support member 32. For purposes of the present invention, the base clamp 34 provides for translational movement along, and pivotable movement about, the axis 38. As shown, the base clamp 34 includes a handle 40 for tightening and loosening the base clamp 34 about the support member 32.

Still referring to FIG. 2, the adjustable mount 30 includes a cantilever 42 that extends from an end 44 to an end 46. As shown, the end 44 is fixed to the base clamp 34. At the end 46 of the cantilever 42, the adjustable mount 30 provides an intermediate clamp 48. For purposes of the present invention, the intermediate clamp 48 defines an intermediate axis 50 that is substantially parallel to the base axis 38. As shown, the intermediate clamp 48 includes a handle 52 for tightening and loosening the intermediate clamp 48 to prevent or allow pivoting of the clamp 48. Further, the adjustable mount 30 comprises an extension arm 54 that is connected to the intermediate clamp 48. As shown, the extension arm 54 has an end 56 and an end 58. Structurally, the end 56 of the extension arm 54 is fixed to the intermediate clamp 48. At the end 56 of the extension arm 54, the adjustable mount 30 is provided with a pivot 60. As shown, the pivot 60 is a universal joint, such as a ball and socket, which allows for rotation about a pivot point 62 at the center of the pivot 60. As with the clamps 34, 48, the pivot 60 is provided with a handle 64 for tightening and loosening the pivot 60 to prevent or allow rotation of the pivot 60 about the pivot point 62. As shown in FIG. 2, a bracket 66 is connected to the pivot 60. Referring to FIG. 1, it can be seen that an arm rest 28, such as a cushioned pad, can be connected to the bracket 66. In order to clean or replace the arm rest 28, it is preferred that it be removably connected to the bracket 66, such as with a hook and loop fastener.

Referring now to FIG. 3, further components of the system 10 are illustrated. As shown, the system 10 includes a collar 68 connected to the covering 24. Cross-referencing FIG. 1 with FIG. 3, the structure of the collar 68 can be explained. As shown, the collar 68 comprises a framework 70 that is attached to the frame 22 of the back portion 18 of the chair 12 only via the covering 24, i.e., the framework 70 is not rigidly attached to the frame 22. In this manner, the framework 70 is suspended by the covering 24 and may move relative to the frame 22 in a direction perpendicular to the back portion 18. As shown, the attachment between the flexible straps 24′ of the covering 24 and the framework 70 is accomplished by passing the straps 24′ through openings 72 in the framework 70.

Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, it can be seen that the collar 68 includes two substantially parallel tracks 74, 76. Further, the tracks 74, 76 are interconnected by cross bars 78, 80. The tracks 74, 76 bound a void 82 created by the collar 68 in the back portion 18 of the chair 12. Further, the collar 68 includes a head support 84 that engages the tracks 74, 76 to allow the head support 84 to be selectively moved along the tracks 74, 76 in the direction of arrows 86. In this manner, the position of the void 82 can be adjusted. Referring now to FIGS. 4A and 4B, it can be seen that the cross bar 80 is U-shaped to allow the flexible strap 24′ that overlies it to flex without contacting the cross bar 80.

Referring now to FIG. 4A, further features of the system 10 are illustrated. As shown, the chair 12 includes a prop arm 88 that is pivotably connected to the back portion 18 of the chair 12 at a prop axis 90. Further, the prop arm 88 includes sockets 92 that are provided to allow engagement with the frame 16 of the seat portion 14. Specifically, a specific socket 92 is selected to engage the frame 16 of the seat portion 14 to hold the back portion 18 at a desired angle 94 relative to the seat portion 14. In this manner, the prop arm 88 provides for the seated orientation 96 shown in FIG. 4A. Referring now to FIG. 4B, the chair 12 is shown in a fully reclined orientation 98. In the fully reclined orientation 98, the seat portion 14 and back portion 18 are substantially parallel and provide a substantially planar surface 26 for a person/user 100 to lie facedown, as shown.

In FIG. 4B, it can be seen that the prop arm 88 is disengaged from the seat portion 14 of the chair 12 and rests on the ground 102. Further, it can be seen that the system 10 includes a tray 104 that is pivotably connected to the prop arm 88 at tray axis 106. As shown in its in-use orientation 108 in FIG. 4B, the tray 104 includes a leg 110 that rests on the ground 102 so that the tray 104 is substantially parallel to the ground 102. Further, the tray 104 is positioned substantially directly below the void 82 in the back portion 18 of the chair 12. Referring back to FIG. 4A, the tray 104 is shown in its stored orientation 112 in which the tray 104 is frictionally engaged, and substantially coplanar, with the prop arm 88. In FIG. 4A, the tray 104 is also shown (in phantom) in an additional orientation in which the tray 104 is substantially parallel to the surface 26. For this orientation, the system includes a mechanism for holding the tray 104 in position. When held in position, the tray 104 may be used in lieu of a chair-side table. As further shown in FIG. 4B, the system 10 includes a cushion or cushioned pad 114 that can be attached to the head support 84 (shown in FIGS. 1 and 3) to receive and support the person's face 116. It is preferred that the cushion 114 be removable from the head support 84 to facilitate cleaning and replacement.

In operation, the system 10 facilitates proper anatomical support of a user 100. Initially, the chair 12 may be in the seated orientation 96 shown in FIGS. 1 and 4A. In order to allow the user 100 to lie face down on the chair 12, the prop arm 88 is disengaged from the frame 16 of the seat portion 14 and is pivoted about the prop axis 90 away from the frame 16. Thereafter, the back portion 18 of the chair 12 is pivoted about the reclining axis 20 until it is substantially coplanar with the seat portion 14 of the chair 12 and the chair 12 is in the fully reclined orientation 98 shown in FIG. 4B. At that time, the prop arm 88 is allowed to contact the ground 102 as shown in FIG. 4B. When the chair 12 is in the fully reclined orientation 98, the tray 104 may be disengaged from the prop arm 88 and pivoted about the tray axis 106 from the stored orientation 112 (shown in FIG. 4A) to the in-use orientation 108 (shown in FIG. 4B) with the leg 110 of the tray 104 resting on the ground 102.

After the chair 12 is in the fully reclined orientation 98 and the tray 104 is in the in-use orientation 1087 as shown in FIG. 4B, the user 100 may lie facedown on the surface 26 of the chair 12. As the user 100 lies down, the head support 84 can be moved along the tracks 74, 76 of the collar 68 to allow the person's face 116 to be properly received within the void 82 in the back portion 18 of the chair 12.

When the user 100 is lying facedown on the chair 12, each arm rest 28 may be positioned as desired to provide proper anatomical support to the user 100. Specifically, for each arm rest 28, the base clamp 34 may be loosened and raised or lowered along the base axis 38 in the direction of arrows 118. Further, the base clamp 34 may be rotated about the base axis 38 in the direction of arrows 120. After the base clamp 34 is positioned as desired, it may be tightened and locked in place. Thereafter, the intermediate clamp 48 may be loosened and pivoted about the intermediate axis 50 to position the pivot 60 at a predetermined spatial relationship to the void 82 or user's face 116, i.e., at a predetermined distance from, and angle to, a component of the chair 12, and a user 100 on the chair. In this manner, a radial distance and angle, designated by line 122, between the base axis 38 and the pivot point 62 is established, and the pivot point 62 is located at a selected axial relationship to the void 82 or person's face 116. When the desired spatial relationship is attained, the intermediate clamp 48 is tightened and locked. Finally, the orientation of the arm rest 28 is modified to the user's preference by loosening the pivot 60 and rotating the pivot 60 about the pivot point 62. After the desired orientation of the arm rest 28 is found, the pivot 60 is tightened and locked. The process may then be repeated for the other arm rest 28 so that the user 100 is given proper anatomical support while lying facedown on the chair 12.

While the particular Neck Chair With Arm Rests as herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of obtaining the objects and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.