Title:
Scented utility cushion
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A utility cushion that includes a scenting agent disposed upon the cushion and a cover material. When the cover material encases the cushion, the cover material is made at least partially permeable to the scenting agent such that the application of pressure to the cushion will cause the scenting agent to permeate the covering material. Accordingly, a method for increasing the concentration of a scenting agent in the area proximal to the cushion is practiced.



Inventors:
Allseits, Cathleen L. (Tucson, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/407677
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUARLES & BRADY LLP (TUC) (TUCSON, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. 1-8. (canceled)

9. An apparatus, comprising: a resilient cushioning element having a preformed concave contour disposed within a top of said cushioning element and adapted for accommodation of at least one anatomical feature of a user; a scenting agent disposed upon the resilient cushioning element; and a cover material substantially encasing said resilient cushioning element, wherein at least a portion of said cover material is permeable to said scenting agent and said cover material is coupled to the concave contour such that the cover material conforms in shape to the concave contour.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said resilient cushioning element comprises a polyurethane foam.

11. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said cover material is moisture proof and permeation of said scenting agent through the cover material is limited to particular areas of the cover material.

12. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said cover material contains openings through which said scenting agent permeates said cover material.

13. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said scenting agent comprises an essential oil.

14. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said cover material is directly attached to the concave contour such that the cover material conforms in shape to the concave contour.

15. (canceled)

16. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said cover material is in direct contact with said cushioning element, moisture proof, and removable.

17. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said scenting agent comprises an essential oil.

18. A method for increasing the concentration of a scenting agent proximal to a cushioning device, comprising the steps of: (a) providing a resilient cushioning element having a preformed concave contour disposed within a top of said cushioning element and adapted for accommodation of at least one anatomical feature of a user; (b) disposing a scenting agent upon the resilient cushioning element; (c) substantially encasing said cushioning element within a cover material permeable to said scenting agent, wherein said cover material is coupled to the concave contour such that the cover material conforms in shape to the concave contour; and (d) applying pressure to the concave contour of said resilient cushioning element such that said scenting agent permeates said cover material.

19. (canceled)

20. The method of claim 19, wherein applying pressure further comprises sitting upon or placing an infant within said concave contour.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to a cushioning apparatus and more particularly to a to a cushioning apparatus that facilitates the release of a pleasant scent during use.

2. Description of the Related Art

Cushioned mats, pads, pillows and the like are well known and have been utilized to increase the comfort of sitting or lying down for millennia. More recently, such cushioning apparatus are made of resilient foam material and featuring water-resistant covers for providing comfort in wet conditions or where moisture such as perspiration may contact the cushioning apparatus.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,845,352 by Matsler et al. discloses a contoured foam cushion with a water-resistant cover that may be used for sitting or during meditation of exercise. Moreover, PCT Application WO97/45039 by Debellis et al. illustrates a contoured and vented pad for a wheelchair. With these and other pad devices, the cushion element and/or the cover material may have a chemical odor (e.g., “new foam smell”) or may begin to harbor an unpleasant musty odor with use over time.

Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a cushioning apparatus that provides deodorization or a pleasant scent that is calming or otherwise useful in a variety of applications.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates in general to an apparatus that includes a resilient cushioning element, a scenting agent disposed upon the resilient cushioning element, and a cover material disposed atop the cushioning element. Preferably, the cushioning element is a polyurethane foam that “breaths” (allows the passage of air therethrough). Also preferably, the cover material is moisture proof.

In one embodiment, the cushioning apparatus of the invention is designed as an apparatus having a cover material that substantially encases a resilient cushioning element. In this embodiment, at least a portion of the cover material is permeable to the scenting agent, such as through a mesh material or other openings disposed through the cover material.

In another embodiment, the resilient cushioning element further includes a contour or depression disposed within the top of the cushioning element. Preferably, the contour is adapted to accommodate of at least one anatomical feature of a user of the cushioning apparatus, such as, for example, a head, a neck, a posterior, or the entire back areas of an infant. Also preferably, the cover material is coupled to the contour such that the cover material conforms in shape to the contour.

In another embodiment of the invention, the resilient cushioning element is encased by a removable cover material so that the cover material may be cleaned or changed and the scenting agent or agents may be replenished or tailored to a particular application (e.g., calming essential oils being disposed upon the cushioning element for use during meditation).

In yet another embodiment of the invention, a method for increasing the concentration of a scenting agent proximal to a cushioning device is provided. Preferably, the method includes the steps of providing a resilient cushioning element, disposing a scenting agent upon the resilient cushioning element, substantially encasing the cushioning element within a cover material permeable to the scenting agent, and applying pressure to the resilient cushioning element such that the scenting agent permeates the cover material. Preferably, the cover material may be moisture proof and only partially permeable with regard to the scenting agent, thereby further limiting or concentrating the expulsion of the scenting agent at certain areas of the cover material when pressure is applied to the cushion apparatus.

Various other purposes and advantages of the invention will become clear from its description in the specification that follows. Therefore, to the accomplishment of the objectives described above, this invention includes the features hereinafter fully described in the detailed description of the preferred embodiments, and particularly pointed out in the claims. However, such description discloses only some of the various ways in which the invention may be practiced.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 schematically depicts a first embodiment of the invention in elevational side view.

FIG. 2 depicts a second embodiment of the invention in perspective view.

FIGS. 3A and 3B are cross-sectional views taken along line 3A,B-3A,B in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 schematically illustrates in outline a method embodiment of the invention in block diagram form.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention generally relates to a comfort apparatus (such as for a chair or diaper changing station) that features a resilient cushion element that has disposed upon it a scenting agent and that is covered or encased in a material. The encasing cover is permeable to the scenting agent through, for example, small holes or vents. Moreover, the resilient cushion element may have a “depression” (i.e., a contoured area) into which, for example, a baby or someone's posterior is placed. Accordingly, one function of the comfort apparatus is to emit the scent from the resilient cushion element when pressure (e.g., the weight of a person or object) is applied to the apparatus or applied within the contour.

Turning to the figures, wherein like numbers designate like elements, an apparatus 2 of the invention is depicted in FIG. 1. The apparatus 2 includes a resilient cushioning element 4 that, preferably, may be a polyurethane foam. Disposed upon the element 4 is a scenting agent 6. The scenting agent 6 may include one or more agents that impart an aroma in proximity to the apparatus 2. Preferred scenting agents include, but are not limited to, volatile and/or aromatic compounds, spices, eucalyptus leaves, and essential oils.

Disposed atop the cushioning element 4 is a cover material 8. Preferably, the cover material 8 is moisture proof as symbolized by moisture bead 9. Thus, a preferred cover material includes vinyl.

As seen in FIGS. 2, 3A and 3B, a second embodiment of the invention is depicted. In this embodiment, the apparatus 12 includes a resilient cushioning element 14, a scenting agent 16 disposed upon the resilient cushioning element 14, and a removable (such as through VELCRO fasteners 15) cover material 18 that substantially encases the resilient cushioning element 14. Because the removable cover material 18 encases the resilient cushioning material 14, at least a portion of the cover material is permeable to the scenting agent 16.

The cover material 18 may be made permeable by, for example, openings 22 through which scenting agent 16 transpires. Or the cover material 18 may include mesh areas (not shown in drawings) or simply be made of a fabric or another composition that allows the passage of scenting agent 16.

The resilient cushioning element 14 of the apparatus 12 of this embodiment further includes a contour 26 disposed within the top 28 of the cushioning element 14. Preferably, the cover material 18 is coupled to the contour 26 such that the cover material 18 conforms in shape to the contour 26. This may be accomplished by, for example, adhesives or by hook-and-loop fasteners 30 and 32 disposed upon both the underside surface of cover material 18 and the top surface of contour 26.

Preferably, the contour 26 is adapted for general accommodation of at least one anatomical feature of a user of the apparatus 12. For example, the contour may be adapted to accommodate a supine infant (as would be the case for a diaper changing station) or the seat area (i.e., posterior) of a person who will be sitting upon the invention. Thus, for example, when infant 30 is placed within contour 26, resilient cushion element 14 is compressed by pressure of the infant's weight (arrow P). As a result, molecules of scenting agent 16 are expelled through cover material 18 (in this case, through openings 22 so that the molecules of scenting agent are locally concentrated around the diaper changing area as shown in FIG. 3B).

As shown in block diagram in FIG. 4, a method for increasing the concentration of a scenting agent proximal to a cushioning device is shown in outline form. The preferred steps of the method include:

(a) providing a resilient cushioning element;

(b) disposing a scenting agent upon the resilient cushioning element;

(c) substantially encasing the cushioning element within a cover material permeable to the scenting agent; and

(d) applying pressure to the resilient cushioning element such that the scenting agent permeates the cover material.

Pressure may be applied through, for example, sitting upon or placing an infant within said contour. Moreover, the apparatus and method of the invention include providing a cover material such that the scenting agent passing through the cover material is limited to particular areas of the cover material. In this manner, the emission of the scenting agent is especially concentrated in particular areas, such as near the head and neck of a full body mat embodiment of the invention to provide a relaxing aroma.

Various changes in the details and components that have been described may be made by those skilled in the art within the principles and scope of the invention herein described in the specification and defined in the appended claims. Therefore, while the present invention has been shown and described herein in what is believed to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is recognized that departures can be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent processes and products.