Title:
REMOVABLE, PORTABLE, UNIVERSAL ELEVATED FOOTREST FOR PEDICURE SPAS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable footrest includes a foot supporting surface, a vertical support and a saddle configured to engage a spa footrest. The saddle features a pair of gripping members configured to form a concave gripping structure adapted to grip a spa footrest.



Inventors:
Tran, Hong (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/382484
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/10/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark Young, P.A. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable footrest for removable attachment to a pedicure spa, said portable footrest comprising a foot supporting surface having a top surface and bottom surface, a vertical support having a top end and a bottom end, the top end of the vertical support being attached to the bottom surface of the foot supporting surface, and a saddle configured to engage a spa footrest, said saddle having a top and a bottom, the bottom end of the vertical support being attached to the top of the saddle.

2. A portable footrest according to claim 1, said saddle comprising a pair of gripping members configured to form a concave gripping structure adapted to grip a spa footrest.

3. A portable footrest according to claim 2, wherein each gripping member is comprised of a plurality of adjoined panels.

4. A portable footrest according to claim 2, wherein the pair of gripping members are configured to form a concave space therebetween, said concave space being widest at the bottom of the saddle.

5. A portable footrest according to claim 2, wherein the pair of gripping members have a gripping surface and the pair of gripping members are comprised of members from a group consisting of substantially rigid members, flexible members, members having smooth gripping surfaces, and members having textured gripping surfaces.

6. A portable footrest according to claim 2, wherein the pair of gripping members are comprised of members from a group consisting of biased members, planar members, and curved members.

7. A portable footrest according to claim 1, said saddle comprising a pair of gripping members configured to form a concave gripping structure adapted to grip a spa footrest, wherein the pair of gripping members are configured to form a concave space therebetween, said concave space being widest at the bottom of the saddle, said widest portion of the space being approximately four to eight inches wide.

8. A portable footrest according to claim 1, wherein the foot supporting surface includes a surface from the group consisting of a surface having heel indentations, an arcuate surface and a planar surface.

9. A portable footrest according to claim 8, wherein the foot supporting surface further includes a top surface from the group consisting of a smooth surface, a textured surface, a hard surface, and a cushioned surface.

10. A portable footrest according to claim 8, wherein the foot supporting surface has a length of approximately 4.0 to 7.0 inches.

11. A portable footrest according to claim 8, wherein the foot supporting surface has a width of approximately 0.5 to 4.0 inches.

12. A portable footrest according to claim 1, wherein the vertical support is comprised of a vertical panel and a strengthening ribs disposed on said vertical panel.

13. A portable footrest according to claim 12, wherein vertical panel has a left side and a right side and the vertical support is further comprised of a pair of side panels, one side panel attached to the left side of the vertical panel, and the other side panel attached to the right side of the vertical panel.

14. A portable footrest according to claim 1, wherein the vertical support is comprised of a support beam from the group consisting of an I-shaped, C-shaped, U-shaped, H-shaped, circular, elliptical, and oval support beam.

15. A portable footrest according to claim 1, wherein the vertical support has a fixed determined height.

16. A portable footrest according to claim 1, wherein the vertical support has an adjustable height.

17. A portable footrest according to claim 1, wherein the foot supporting surface, vertical support, and saddle are comprised of material from the group consisting of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, acrylics, cellulosics, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymers, urethanes, thermo-plastic resins, thermo-plastic elastomers (TPE), acetal resins, polyamides, polycarbonates and polyesters.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to a pedicure device, and more particularly, to a removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas.

BACKGROUND

A commercial pedicure spa 1000, as shown in FIG. 10, generally includes a comfortable adjustable seat 1010, a basin 1020 equipped with whirlpool jets for soaking and massaging feet, an adjustable spa footrest 1030, and an elaborate plumbing system configured to supply and circulate water to the jets in the basin. A user may sit on the seat while soaking her feet in the basin, which is typically positioned close to the floor to minimize the distance that a user must raise her feet to soak them.

As used herein, spa footrest refers to a footrest of a conventional pedicure spa, while a removable, portable, or universal footrest refers to a supplementary footrest according to principles of the invention.

During a pedicure, calluses and dry, flaky skin are abraded or scraped from the bottom of the feet. Typically, the feet are soaked in the basin of a spa. Once the warm water has softened the skin on the feet, a technician scrubs the bottoms of the feet with a pedicure sander or a similar abrasive article. Additionally, technicians will occasionally use a corn and callus plane comprised of a stainless steel head with a raised shaving blade to slice thick, tough callus from the feet.

Unfortunately, pedicures are strenuous, tedious tasks. A technician performing the pedicure often maintains a hunched position while exerting appreciable force in performing a repetitive sanding motion for several minutes per customer. In the course of a workday, a technician may require several breaks to recover from fatigue and back pain. Over the long term, the repetitive strain leads to a high rate of attrition as well as costly workplace related injuries.

To facilitate a technician's access to a customer's feet during a pedicure, many conventional pedicure spas now include adjustable height spa footrests and/or adjustable height basins. While such known devices improve access, they suffer certain shortcomings. For example, they typically include relatively complex, costly, proprietary elevating mechanisms. Proper use of such a mechanism requires an understanding of the particular spa's technical specifications. As the mechanisms are not standardized, they vary widely in structure and operation from spa to spa. Additionally, such optional features increase the cost of purchasing and maintaining a spa. The elevating mechanisms are also prone to failure because they include many moving components and operate in an environment surrounded by splashing warm water, cleansers and other chemicals. Furthermore, switching from an elevated configuration to a non-elevated configuration can be tedious and time-consuming.

A removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas would be desirable. Preferably, the footrest is lightweight, fits many or all conventional pedicure spas (whether or not they include adjustable height footrests and/or adjustable height basins), is easy to install and remove, and provides an elevation that is comfortable for both the customer and technician.

The invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems and solving one or more of the needs as set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve one or more of the problems set forth above, in an exemplary implementation of the invention, a removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas is provided. In one aspect of the invention, the footrest is lightweight, fits many conventional pedicure spas (whether or not they include adjustable height footrests and/or adjustable height basins), is easy to install and remove, and provides an elevation that is comfortable for both the customer and technician.

In another aspect of the invention, the portable footrest includes a foot supporting surface having a top surface and bottom surface. A vertical support having a top end and a bottom end is attached to the bottom surface of the foot supporting surface. A saddle configured to engage a spa footrest is attached to the bottom end of the vertical support. The saddle includes a pair of gripping members configured to form a concave gripping structure adapted to grip a spa footrest. Each gripping member may be comprised of a plurality of adjoined panels or may be comprised of biased members, planar members or curved members. The gripping members may be substantially rigid or flexible, and have a smooth or textured gripping surface. The space between the gripping members is widest at the bottom of the saddle, being approximately four to eight inches wide.

In another aspect of the invention, the foot supporting surface includes a surface having heel indentations, an arcuate surface or a planar surface. The top surface may be smooth, textured, hard and/or cushioned. The top surface has a length of approximately 4.0 to 7.0 inches and a width of approximately 0.5 to 4.0 inches.

In yet another aspect of the invention, the vertical support includes a vertical panel and a strengthening ribs disposed thereon. The vertical support may also have a pair of side panels. Alternatively, the vertical support may be comprised of an I-shaped, C-shaped, U-shaped, H-shaped, circular, elliptical, or oval support beam. The vertical support may have a fixed determined height or an adjustable height.

In still another aspect of the invention, the footrest may be comprised of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, acrylics, cellulosics, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymers, urethanes, thermo-plastic resins, thermo-plastic elastomers (TPE), acetal resins, polyamides, polycarbonates or polyesters.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 provides a first perspective view prior of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 2 provides a second perspective view prior of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 3 provides a third perspective view prior of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 4 provides a profile view prior of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 5 provides a front plan view prior of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 6 provides a dimensioned profile view of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 7 provides a dimensioned first section view of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 8 provides a dimensioned second section view of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 9 provides a dimensioned top view of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 10 conceptually illustrates a conventional prior art pedicure spa.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that FIGS. 1 through 4 are not intended to be drawn to any particular scale; the invention is not limited to the dimensions or proportions shown in FIGS. 5 through 9; the invention is limited to use in connection with the pedicure spa of FIG. 10, and FIGS. 1 through 9 are not intended to illustrate every embodiment of the invention. The invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments depicted in the Figures or the shapes, relative sizes, ornamental aspects, dimensions or proportions shown in the Figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In an exemplary implementation of the invention, a removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest for pedicure spas is provided. The footrest is lightweight, fits many or all conventional pedicure spas (whether or not they include adjustable height footrests and/or adjustable height basins), is easy to install and remove, and provides an elevation that is comfortable for both the customer and technician.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 perspective views of an exemplary removable, portable, universal, elevated footrest 100 for pedicure spas according to principles of the invention are shown. The exemplary footrest 100 includes a foot supporting surface 105 such as substantially horizontal plateau; a vertical support 150 such as the structure comprised of vertical panels 140 and 145, side panels 110 and 115 and strengthening ribs 135 and 137; and a saddle 130 comprised of divergent gripping members 120 and 125.

The foot supporting surface 105 supports feet in an elevated position. The top surface of the foot supporting surface 105 may be contoured for heels of feet (e.g., having heel indentations or depressions), arcuate or planar. Additionally, the top surface may be smooth or textured, rigid or pliant, and hard or soft (e.g., cushioned/padded). The top surface preferably has a length (e.g., 4.0 to 7.0 inches) and width (e.g., 0.5 to 4.0 inches) sufficient to comfortably support two feet.

The vertical support 150 maintains the foot supporting surface 105 a determined height above the saddle 130. The exemplary vertical support 150 is comprised of vertical panels 140 and 145, side panels 110 and 115 and strengthening ribs 135 and 137. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other structures suitable for supporting the foot supporting surface 105 above the saddle 130 may be utilized within the scope of the invention. By way of example and not limitation, one or more support beam, a solid or hollow rectangular, I-shaped, C-shaped, H-shaped, circular, elliptical, or oval support beam, or a vertical support 150 member of another configuration compatible with the footrest 100 may be utilized. While a vertical support 150 of a fixed height is preferred for simplicity and cost effectiveness, adjustable height vertical support 150s (e.g., telescopic and/or threadedly adjustable supports) may also be utilized within the scope of the invention.

The saddle 130 is configured to securely engage a portion of a spa, such as a footrest 1030 of a conventional spa 1000, between gripping members 120 and 125 that diverge from a common top (i.e., apex) forming a generally concave gripping structure. Each of the exemplary gripping members 120 and 125 may be comprised of a plurality of adjoining panels or sections. For example, gripping member 120 is comprised of panels 120a, 120b, 120c and 120d, as shown in FIG. 3. Likewise, gripping member 125 is comprised of panels 125a, 125b, 125c and 125d, as shown in FIG. 3. The panels 120a-120d and 125a-125d are arranged to form a saddle having a wide opening at the free ends 120d and 125d and converging to an apex (i.e., the top) of the saddle at the ends 120a and 125a adjoining the vertical support 150, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. As the concave space between the divergent gripping members 120 and 125 becomes narrower from the widest point (e.g., 4 to 8 inches wide) at the free ends to a vertex at the end adjoining the vertical support 150, the saddle 130 is configured to accommodate spa footrests within a range of sizes. The gripping members 120 and 125 may be substantially rigid or flexible, and may have a smooth, textured or otherwise frictionally enhanced surfaces for securely contacting a spa footrest. While a saddle configuration as depicted in the Figures is preferred, other configurations, such as a saddle having biased gripping members (e.g., urged by one or more springs towards each other), planar gripping members, curved gripping members and/or gripping members equipped with frictional engagement elements may also be utilized within the scope of the invention.

The foot supporting surface 105, vertical support 150 and saddle 130 are preferably comprised of a rigid plastic or polymeric material, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, acrylics, cellulosics, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymers, urethanes, thermo-plastic resins, thermo-plastic elastomers (TPE), acetal resins, polyamides, polycarbonates and polyesters. While many other materials may be used alone or in combination with the aforementioned materials and/or other materials, without departing from the scope of the present invention, preferably the material is relatively inexpensive and durable, easy to use in manufacturing operations and results in an aesthetically acceptable, washable, water resistant product. The material may further include additives to provide desired properties such as desired colors, structural characteristics (e.g., matrix or fiber reinforcements), glow-in-the dark properties and thermal reactivity (e.g., color changes according to heat).

The foot supporting surface 105, vertical support 150 and saddle 130 may be produced using any suitable manufacturing techniques known in the art for the chosen material, such as (for example) injection, compression, structural foam, blow, or transfer molding; polyurethane foam processing techniques; vacuum forming; and casting. Preferably the manufacturing technique is suitable for mass production at relatively low cost per unit, and results in an aesthetically acceptable product with a consistent acceptable quality.

The foot supporting surface 105, vertical support 150 and saddle 130 may be formed as one integral component, or as a plurality of components attached together by thermal and/or chemical bonding and/or mechanical attachments. By way of example and not limitation, the foot supporting surface 105, vertical support 150 and saddle 130 may be comprised of a right half and a left half adjoined by chemical bonding along centerline 112, shown in FIG. 1.

For illustrative purposes, FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 conceptually illustrate dimensioned views of an exemplary foot supporting surface 105, vertical support 150 and saddle 130 in accordance with principles of the invention. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention is not limited to the dimensions or proportions shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8, and that the Figures are not intended to illustrate every embodiment of the invention.

Referring now to FIG. 5, an exemplary foot supporting surface 105 is shown with an concave contour having a radius of curvature of 22.568 inches. The concave shape helps prevent supported feet from inadvertently sliding off the sides. The size of the foot supporting surface 105, as shown in FIG. 9, is adequate to comfortably support feet. The height, as shown in FIG. 6, enables elevation of a patron's feet to a position above the spa's footrest that is comfortable for a patron and a pedicure technician. The shape, contour and size of the saddle is designed to securely engage a conventional spa footrest and stabilize the elevated footrest 100.

The footrest 100 may optionally be equipped with other features, such as one or more shelves, hooks, compartments and/or pockets. Such features may be added to the side of the vertical support that will face the technician. The technician may use these features to conveniently store equipment and supplies while performing a pedicure.

While the invention has been described in terms of various embodiments, implementations and examples, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the appended claims including equivalents thereof. The foregoing is not intended to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. Alternative embodiments of the invention, including variations in size, materials, components, shape, form, function, manner of operation, assembly and use that are obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be encompassed by the invention. Accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.